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.

Pizza & Cremation

Here’s a little something I found interesting. Since it’s to us as well as “or Resident” I’d be happy to pass it along to anyone who is interested.

Since there is no credit given to the origin of the pizza my mind naturally went to the guy who runs the crematorium. Might not eat pizza for a while, at least not at the local funeral home.

 

Jerrie Anne, Lydia, Max,

Wow! Where do I begin. I’ve got 9 days worth of mostly worthless information crammed in my tiny little brain to the point where that stuff from July 5th has been crushed to the point of near unrecognizability. I know, that’s not a real word, but it should be.

Thankfully I have this calendar that Diane and I share and she keeps it current. Every once in a while I’ll take a shot at adding something and it doesn’t always work out for me. That’s code for “Diane gets cranky that I screwed it up.” Still, I try. Perhaps one of these days I’ll figure it out but the best bet for now is to just let Diane make those entries.

Using that calendar here’s what I discovered about recent activities. Seems I did way more than I thought. I’ve been a busy critter.

  1. I bought a fuel filter for Lydia’s car and tried to put it on, but there wasn’t one in the location that guy on YouTube told me it would be. He had pictures and everything, but it just wasn’t there. I checked more references on the internet and was assured by all of them that it should be located right next to this thing located under the vehicle on the driver’s side. I do lots of research like this on the internet and it’s never wrong. Really, it isn’t. Everything’s been just fine. Until now. Not finding the fuel filter where it is supposed to be led me to believe that the filter must be inside the tank with the fuel pump. Since I didn’t the ability to see if that was true, I took the car to Don’s house. See item 10 below for more information on that.
  2. I golfed with Doug and Junior on Thursday last week. I specify because I reference Thursday this week about a topic that has nothing to do with Thursday last week. I find it’s important to be specific about shared information like this. The golf game was great fun, as it always is. None of us died, an event we’re all prepared for, and no one even fell down. That was a plus.
  3. My Daughter-in-law, Heather, had a birthday on Thursday last week, too. See why it’s important to specify? Had I not clarified that you may have thought she had a birthday yesterday since that was also a Thursday. Anyway, now she’s firmly entrenched in her 40’s. I’m not allowed to specify how entrenched which is difficult for me because I’m really serious about being specific, as I mentioned. I’ve been sitting here in a quandary, thinking about how to resolve this to everyone’s satisfaction and realized that I don’t think she reads this stuff so it’s probably OK to tell you she’s now 43.
  4. I had an ultra sound on my carotid arteries at the VA hospital yesterday, which was a Thursday. I never received any results of that test which is good, I suppose. I guess they just didn’t find anything and didn’t feel it was necessary to let me know. We’ll see what happens with this most current one.
  5. I visited my VA Doctor on Tuesday of this week, just three days ago since this if Friday. I haven’t mentioned that yet. Today is Friday. She’s the one who ordered the carotid ultrasound as well as the echocardiogram (see item 11), which I had yesterday, which was Thursday. Lots of stuff seems to be happening on Thursdays lately. After the echocardiogram we sent shopping for a motor home (item 6).
  6. Diane and I went out and looked at all the Class A motorhomes we could find and wound up buying one. It’s a 2007 Holiday Rambler Neptune diesel pusher. Never had one of those before.
  7. Ozzie got a haircut. It cost $40! Ozzie only weighs about 10 lbs so his haircut costs $4 a pound. Amazing. I’ve thought about campaigning to just let him grow wild for a few months to see what happens but I know Diane wouldn’t like that. So, I probably won’t, even though I did agree to trade in our travel trailer on a Class A motor home (See item 6).
  8. We picked up the SCRIP cards for our church. The office is in the Tigard School District complex which is, to the uninitiated, very complex. We found it however, and I went in, hands in the air, to find out where the cards were that I was going to liberate. “Why did you put your hands, up?”, I was asked. “To show you I was unarmed,” I said. “Oh, that’s OK,” the receptionist said, “we don’t check for guns.”
  9. I had coffee with some friends at the Kozy. I got there early so I could eat breakfast – one enormous pancake, two eggs, two links, and coffee. All for under $8. You should go there for breakfast sometime.
  10. I drove Lydia’s car to Cousin Don’s house on Thursday, yesterday. Diane followed me with our pickup, into which I had placed our tow strap that was purchased a long time ago to simplify towing various cars, and my old truck, home for repair when they crapped out somewhere. It’s been a handy tool. This time, we didn’t need it. I got the vehicle to Don’s just fine. Al was there. He’s one of Don’s old racing buddies who lives in a motor home and visits during racing season in this area. He’s a great guy and invited me to join him, Don, and John today for a round of golf at our favorite golf course. It was great fun and made me realize that keeping score is a total waste of time. Who really cares. You just hit the ball from the tee to the green, then you putt it in the hole. How many times you hit the ball isn’t relevant when the object is to just visit and have a little man-fun. Don and I rode together in one cart he told me that Lydia’s car needed more help than he could offer so he was going to take it to a friend who has a garage. For more information on this evolution, see item 1 above.
  11. I had an echocardiogram (see item 5) during which I fell asleep and woke myself up snoring more than once. The tech said it was OK, I could snore all I wanted. This was different from the echo I had many years ago, that was done in conjunction with a treadmill stress test. That one was brutal and produced the excruciating pain in my throat that I tried to describe. It’s one of those pains where you have to stop whatever you’re doing, no matter where you are, until it goes away. Nasty. Apparently they never found anything wrong because I have no memory of rule changes regarding my conduct, or the continued care and feeding of my heart. It’s still ticking along pretty good, but that pain is the main reason I don’t feel compelled to exercise. At all. Sitting in a chair all day works for me. I don’t do that, of course, because I have to get up and go to the bathroom once in a while.
  12. We sold our ‘new’ Chevy truck to Jack and Wynette. They were working with the local dealer to get a used 2014 truck similar to ours but it didn’t have a backup camera, no navigation, and no Sirius radio. Everyone knows that, if you’re married, you must have all that stuff in any vehicle you purchase, or borrow. Before they completed the deal Diane and I were neck-deep in item 6 (the motor home) and found that by trading in our travel trailer we probably wouldn’t need a pickup. Without the pickup, Diane would need a vehicle to drive that her Mom could enter and leave without fanfare (she will be 90 next month). Diane’s Mom, not Diane. So we offered it to them and they accepted. In return we will purchase their Toyota Camry (item 13). Perfect.
  13. We bought their ‘new’ Camry from Jack and Wynette. Well, we haven’t bought it yet, but we will. The plan is in motion. Funny how things work out.
  14. I mowed all of the lawn. That’s about 3/4 of an acre. Doesn’t sound like much but, unlike some other mower people I’ve seen, I go real slow so it can vacuum up all the cut grass. In this instance, however, the cut part only consists of the tops of about a zillion dandelions that inhabit the yard. With all the hot weather, our grass has barely grown at all. It looks pretty good with al the little yellow flowers gone but, you know, I kinda liked the flowers. They go well with all the moss that makes up most of the front yard.
  15. I got a heart monitor from the VA. This is conjunction with all the other cardiac stuff that’s going on. Perhaps some of you know what it’s all about and what they look like. For those who don’t, it’s a device worn on the belt like a cell phone that has two leads which are attached to my chest. The wires to the connection points by necessity go down inside my pants then travel up beneath my shirt. When I get tired of explaining that it’s a heart monitor, I tell people who it’s a two-purpose device that sends Diane a text if I get an erection, and me a text if it detects that I’ve had an erection longer than 4 hours. Neither one of us has received a text so things are pretty normal.
  16. Diane visited her hand therapist multiple times to work the kinks out of her broken wrist bones. She’s making great progress, using her left arm all the time with rarely a whimper. Makes me proud. The big test, though, was the vacuum cleaner which she can use with no problem. I was concerned about that.

OK – when I list it that way, it looks like a lot of stuff. Looking at the calendar it doesn’t seem like much but I fear delving into each one of those items will result in a long dissertation. I’ll do it but you don’t have to read all of it at once. Actually, you don’t have to read it at all. Frankly, I’m surprised you got this far. It’s like one of those movies that is so bad but you keep watching, thinking it has to get better. Right? I watch movies like that all the time. Why do we do that?

It’s now Sunday, two days after I started this so all the day references are incorrect. But, I’m not fixing them.

Yesterday we visited with Jeff & Family to have a small celebration for Jerrie’s 6th birthday. Yes, she’s already 6. She’s so excited about being in First Grade. It’s going to be a fun year for her teacher.

Baylee, Jerrie, and Gilligan

After visiting with Jerrie, we delivered our trade in travel trailer and picked up our ‘new’ motor home from Camping World in Portland. It was an exciting trip since I’ve never driven anything that big (35 feet long, 8 feet wide, 12.5 feet tall). It was easy peasy even though I drove it through St. Johns, and over the St. Johns bridge. Pretty tricky stuff for a Rookie. Now it’s safely parked in our driveway, waiting for its maiden voyage.

This afternoon, Lydia and Ceiarra showed up with Max (Maximum Prime) so they could relieve him of most of his hair. They did it in the front yard so the big dogs wouldn’t interfere. Max was in heaven with all the attention from two pretty girls. He’s no dummy.

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.

Fort Bragg to Eureka – Day 13

I had another title for this but decide it was really appropriate for one aspect of the trip. It was going to be “The Trip to Hell that ended in Eureka – Day 13”. The Hell part only related to the parts on Highway 101 where the highway maintenance department chose to ruin our day by closing down sections for hours at a time. Flaggers literally littered the highway making us stop for a time, then allowing us to drive by 200+ cars waiting in line to go the other direction, while all the workers just stood around doing apparently nothing. Oh, I know they were actually working at some point, but seems like they could at least look busy while all the cars were driving by. We did this about 5 times. The time lost caused us to reel back our chosen stopping point from Crescent City to Eureka. It’s a small difference, actually, but will serve to add another day to our projected return home.

Also, we had committed to stopping to enjoy the Redwoods, so we did it, causing further delays. Turns out it was perfectly OK. Here’s what we did …

First, Lydia drove all the way from Fort Bragg to Highway 101 and she did a terrific job. I sat in the back seat with Ceiarra and only almost got car sick once while trying to read a book. Highway 1 is incredibly curvy and narrow so it was a challenge for her. I shouldn’t have tried to read.

Just before Highway 1 hits Highway 101, there is a road that leads to the tree you can drive through. Actually, it was one of the two available in the Redwoods, but is now the only one because the other one fell over in a storm. We chose to forego driving the truck through the tree because, you know, why take a chance? That, and Lydia was driving. She wasn’t too keen about doing it.After looking around in the gift shop for a while, the girls wandered around the park and I found this nifty poem I thought you’d like. Perhaps some of you have had the pleasure of seeing this in person …

Being in a forest of redwood trees is very humbling. They are magnificent. Here in the park, however, you can climb in and on all that magnificence.

We searched for Diane in the likely spots near the gift shop, but the girls discovered her sitting on a bench, in the sun, gazing out over a pond behind the gift shop creating a perfect opportunity for a photo opportunity.

Then, Lydia spied a frog and the hunt was on. She gathered up as many as should could and came to show us. When she opened her hands up, they jumped everywhere like little springs.

Ceiarra did the same and lost all but one that stayed on her finger watching the world go by as she carried it around the field. Funny frog.

Then Lydia had one final trick before releasing the last two into the wild.

Then we were off to find the really big trees, which we did. They just kind of make you want to look up and admire them.

During one of the stops, they found a small stream and lots of rocks which captured their interest more than the trees. Lydia found room for the treasured rocks in the back of the truck.

Oh, yes, and here’s Sweet Lisa, our waitress from yesterday. She’s special to us.

That’s it for Day 13.

Travis AFB to Fort Bragg – Day 12

To ensure the tense is correct, I must admit that I wrote all of this yesterday.

Today was supposed to be a quick trip because it was only about 180 miles. Less than 4 hours, right? Well, that plan was derailed by two of our GPS systems when they routed us across Highway 37 which runs through the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It wasn’t the Wildlife Refuge that was the problem because it’s actually not a bad road. The road is only one lane each direction but once you’re on it, the only way out is to keep moving forward. On this Sunday, moving forward meant going very slow most of the time, stopping completely some of the time, with short bursts of speed all the way up to 30-40 mph. What we didn’t know, and apparently our GPS didn’t either, was that Highway 37 is one of the main ways to reach the Sonoma Raceway which is located about 2/3 of the way across.  Once we reached that exit we could see the stands for the racetrack and they were full. This was about 1100 this morning so our arrival in Fort Bragg, which isn’t really a fort at all, just another town on Highway 1, was pushed out to after 4 pm. We wanted to be there nice and early, like 1 pm, so we could visit some of the sites in this city. Specifically, Diane wanted to visit Glass Beach.

For this stop, Diane obtained two rooms at the city’s Motel 6, an establishment she previously vowed to “never” use during our travels. But, the price of two rooms there was cheaper than one room at any of the other establishments and the girls won’t have to sleep on a sofa bed.

Once we got checked in and hauled our luggage upstairs to our rooms (no elevator), we went searching for Glass Beach. We found it about a mile north of Motel 6 and it was easily accessible for most, even those with broken arms. once we reached the beach, the girls were fascinated with the glass on the beach then Lydia went looking for hermit crabs which were abundant. Ceiarra chose seek pieces of rock and agate mixed, leaving the glass alone.

There were people all over the place checking out the beach. An Indian family saw Lydia with one of the hermit crabs and had to have photos of her messing with them. She’s always gone down that road less travelled by girls, opting for the bugs, snakes, and such, so crabs were right in her wheel house. She had a ball discovering, and harassing them. She was not allowed to bring any with her back to the truck. So, she found a really nasty looking shell that had once been stuck to a rock, and was partially covered with debris that had once been growing, and you just knew it was going to smell to High Heaven once it dried out, and insisted that we take it home. We folded on that request because we knew there were plastic bags in the truck she could use to wrap it up. The bag remained in the truck bed. By the time we get home whatever is in that bag is going to be nasty, I’m sure.

Ceiarra, thankfully, kept it clean and was allowed to get her rock collection back to the motel in the truck proper.

After the beach we discussed dinner options and chose Denny’s which was next to the road leading to the beach. We don’t normally patronize Denny’s during our trips because we’ve bad experiences in the past. It’s been a while, though, and thought we’d give it another try. Glad we did because the food was great and the people greater. It was a pleasant visit.

Our waitress, Lisa, came and took our orders and when she left Ceiarra said that Lisa smelled like her Mom did. When she came back, Diane asked her what fragrance she was using and she said, “Just my hand sanitizer.” That was unexpected. Diane explained the reason for her request, that C had lost her Mom no long ago, and that Lisa’s fragrance reminded her of her Mom.

Lisa teared up and walked away from the table and went back to work but she was truly mulling a proper response for Ceiarra because she returned after a bit, tears streaming, and explained that she truly believed that C’s Mom had been there at that moment because our loved ones are always close, even when they’re ‘gone’. Then she placed a bottle of strawberry scented hand sanitizer on the table as a gift for Ceiarra. A little later she dropped off a piece of chocolate cake of some sort and said “hope you aren’t allergic to peanuts.”

Needless to say, Lisa got a good tip and a hug from Ceiarra before we left. It was a good stop. One of those times when you know that you were led to a place for a reason. It was good for both Lisa and Ceiarra.

Now we’re back in our respective rooms settling down for the night. We plan to revisit the beach on our way out of town tomorrow on the next leg of this trip that will find us in Crescent City. Should be an interesting arrival there because even though Diane received an email confirmation of her reservation, she received another email reporting that it had been cancelled for some obscure reason. Interesting. There will be more on that tomorrow.

Now some photos, some of which relate to other days.

Here’s a tribute to one of Diane’s high school class mates that we found on the Walk of Fame …

The girls, in the elevator, on the way back to the room after retrieving them from Universal Studios. I have no idea what they’re looking at.

End of a Rough day.

A puppy treat at one of the rest stops we chose to use.

This breakfast would have been really good if the biscuits would have been waaaaaay smaller.

We got an education at this cafe. It’s located in Boonville, CA, out in the middle of about a zillion wineries. This is the place where inhabitants developed an entire language called Boontling which they used to confuse non-natives to the area. It is currently spoken by only about 100 residents. This restaurant is the location of choice for those folks to gather and share news. Interesting.

On our way to Glass Beach the girls found a squirrel that wasn’t afraid of them.

Lydia spent most of her time catching and harassing hermit crabs while the rest of us checked out the beach.

This is what Glass Beach looks like. Pretty awesome.

Even while standing on an awesome beach, folks gathered to watch Lydia catch crabs. This particular one was making it’s way toward Diane who was semi-sitting on the rock in about the place Lydia is working.

She finally captured it but we wouldn’t let her keep it.

Girls just having fun.

That’s Diane’s hand holding a handful of beach that I provided for her to display.

C found a small cave

That’s it.