Saturday, July 29, 2017

Seven miles for mediocre morning coffee!

Although we really love our little cabin in Island Park, ID, the daily seven mile round trip to pick up two cups of mediocre morning coffee is a bit much.  It was a brisk 42 degrees this morning for my drive to and from Robin's Roost for the purpose of purchasing the life saving liquid.  The early morning light on surrounding ranch land is spectacular and shows promise for another awesome day.

We made the 20 mile drive into West Yellowstone Thursday to purchase a few things needed for the balance of our trip and returned to Island Park to rest a little from the fast paced travel from the SF Bay Area.  It was a beautiful day that ended with the second evening in a row of fantastic mountain thunder storms.  Fairly large hail fell for about 15 minutes and added a crashing roar on the metal roofed cabin in addition to the almost constant thunder.

Friday was laundry day and Juanita was able to take care of everything at the nearby Valley View RV Park and laundromat.  We again spent the afternoon hours lounging on the deck of our little cabin before driving a few miles down the highway to see old friends Steve and Karen.  They are the owners of Beagles Callie and Maddie, who are both related to our two girls.  Maddie is a half sister to Abbey and Luna and Callie is a second cousin, if there is such a thing in the canine world.

In the photo above, our four Beagle scrum is quietly posing with Juanita and Karen.  From left to right....Luna, Abbey, Maddie and Callie.  While we had a good conversation and dinner with our good friends Karen and Steve, Luna kept a good eye on the mountain neighborhood and kept us safe from wild critters.

It was time today for our first drive into Yellowstone NP and I almost dreaded the heavy traffic and horrible animal jams.  Well, my fears were not realized.  The traffic was fairly light and there were no animal jams whatsoever.  The lack of critter sightings causing massive traffic jams was easily explained by the almost total lack of wildlife within sight of park roadways.  We saw only three bison, only one of which was located on or near the highway through the park.  A few geese grazed on river banks...that was it!

Nez Perce Creek is a beautiful Yellowstone waterway.

Luna kept an eye out for invading wild geese.

The light overall traffic in the park today was a little harder to explain.  In past years a Saturday at the end of July would be a nightmare experience.  Not so today, and I have no clue as to why.  We stopped by the Old Faithful Lodge to pick up a few supplies, missing the geyser eruption by minutes. We have seen it many times before.  We stopped off at a couple of our favorite pull outs near hot springs and small geysers and ate lunch at Gibbon Meadows.

We have made dozens of trips into Yellowstone over the years, but have seldom seen a more spectacular day in regards to moderate temperatures, light winds and lack of the usual human swarm.  We had a fine day!

Our plans for tomorrow include a drive over to Ennis, Montana and maybe to the old west town of Virginia City.  We'll see how the day develops.  If weather conditions permit, I would like to do a little aerial photography with my portable quadcopter.

We'll check in with y'all again soon..............................

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

We survived!

We outlasted the swarms of humanity, terrible traffic, dingy skies and hot summer temperatures in California and escaped to Nevada yesterday and Utah today.  Whew!

Juanita had a fair amount of quality time with her family members that were assembled from various locations to celebrate the life of her Mother who passed in July of last year.  My dear wife doesn't do well on boats, but was able to join her family members on her brother's sailboat to spread Mom's ashes in San Francisco Bay as she had requested.

While Juanita was taking care of family business, I kept the Beagle girls happy with walks and a couple of rides away from the motel.  The girls actually do very well in a motel environment, which requires that every noise from the adjoining rooms or hallway needn't push the bark or howl button.  That's not an easy thing for Beagles.

We left the Bay Area early yesterday morning just at the end of the commute and didn't have much trouble during our eastward trek to Winnemucca, NV.  It was fairly warm east of the Sierra's with the temperature falling just short of the century mark.  Early evening thundershowers cooled everything off quite nicely.

A shorter 377 mile drive today brought us to Layton, UT, which is located just south of Ogden.  Highway traffic was fairly light and the temperatures had dropped into the upper 70's to lower 80's....very comfortable for a day drive through NE Nevada and into Utah.

We pulled over at a rest area at the spectacular Bonneville Salt Flats to dewater both dogs and humans and to take advantage of the windless afternoon to take several aerial photos of the salt plain.  I took the DJI Mavic Pro quadcopter up to an altitude of 300 feet and took about six photos in different directions to capture the beautiful scene.

A bronze plaque located along side I-80 in Nevada provided the humor of the day.  I would think that the group that put this event memorial together would have at least done some editorial review before having it cast.  Apparently not.  Read the last sentence of the story and note the dedication date.

June 7, 6008...Really?

We are fed, the girls have been walked and we are relaxing after a very nice day on the road.  Tomorrow we are off to Island Park, ID and look forward to a week of travel in Yellowstone and surrounding area.  

We'll check back in with y'all again soon.................................

Friday, July 21, 2017

Veni, Vidi, Vici---I came, I saw, I conquered

Well, not so much.  I came to California, I saw the place, but I can only say at this point that I merely survived the experience.

We left Port Orford, OR at 6 AM yesterday morning and, after a series of rest stops to water and walk the dogs and to dewater and walk the humans, we arrived in Dublin, CA at 6 PM.  Ugh!  I had intended to let Juanita drive some of the way to break up her ride along boredom and to give me some rest from behind the wheel.  Being the macho man that I am, I drove the entire way.  Ugh again.

A "dronie" taken at our first rest stop in Oregon...

At the Sandy Creek covered bridge

Few surprises arose during the drive, except for the substantial remaining snow fields on Mt Shasta in CA and the almost full appearance of Lake Shasta.  The usual assortment of moronic drivers pushed us from the rear (no, I am not a poke-along geezer) and dived in front with death defying moves.  I kept my verbiage civil...not...and didn't make any threatening gestures during these encounters despite the urge to do so.

Just as luck, and timing, would have it, we arrived in the northern part of the SF Bay Area right at rush hour giving validity to our decision to leave the place over eleven years ago.  I can't even comprehend how I put up with this day in and day out insanity for years.  Oh, the humanity!!

After making all the right turns at the right time (memory served me well), we arrived at the LaQuinta Inn in Dublin to rest up a little and feed the pups and ourselves.  Juanita left me with the furry critters to see her daughter for a short time before we all crashed for the night.

Since all family members are still employed and had to work today, Juanita and I decided to visit with our old (or I should say former?) neighbors in Castro Valley.  We spent about four hours with these good friends and found the old neighborhood relatively unchanged except for cosmetics on some homes and degradation of others. 

Unfortunately, during our old neighborhood visit, our little Beagle girl Luna rolled in something very odiferous...I don't even want to know what it was.  As a result, Juanita decided to take the two furry critters over to her daughter's house this evening in order to cleanse the foul creature.  

"Dronie"with our friends Tom and Vicki

I have seen more humanity in just an hour here than I see in Port Orford in a year and would like to say that I can survive the next two days of our California visit with no problem.  I put the chances of that at fifty fifty, but who knows.  By the time of our departure Monday morning, I might be able to proclaim with certainty....Veni, Vidi, Vici.  Or not.

We'll see you down the road...........................

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Port Orford Slim and wifey take a "vacation"

So, I have been missing from the blog scene for a good while now.  I'm not even sure why that has happened, other than the fact that I haven't been especially inspired to write.  I always have something to say about our activities...or lack thereof...and various interesting events, both personal and observed.  A few recent events, however, move me to bring all of our remaining blog friends up to date.

In the no news is good news category, my dear wife Juanita is holding at full remission after the six month long chemo series and subsequent bi-monthly maintenance treatments.  She is healthy, happy and probably much wiser than I.

Both of us began much needed diets in early February with terrific results.  I have lost well over 50# and Juanita nearly 40, allowing me to take the name "Port Orford Slim" in the blog title.

Port Orford Slim

In the other big news department, the owners of Port Orford RV Village took us out of the loop, so to speak, and put us into one of the side permanent spaces in the park.  We purchased the 8' x 8' shed owned by the previous tenant of the space, so Juanita finally has local storage for all of her quilting supplies and I have a shop with an 8' long bench, room for all of my tools and hobby stuff and a Generac 3.6 Kw emergency generator.  A guy couldn't ask for more.  Nor could wifey!

Being placed into a permanent space in the park implies somewhat more than I am willing to concede at this point in life.  I think J is happy to make this spot our home, while I am clinging to the truck keys with some uncertainty about the situation.  As each day passes, however, I am becoming more settled and can most certainly see advantages of making this our home off the road.  We are facing decision time early next year when we will either return to Texas to renew our drivers licenses or become Oregon residents.  Decisions....decisions......

I'm starting to get comfortable here!

Since I last wrote, I have purchased two new drones.  A larger DJI Phantom 4 Pro quadcopter is supplemented with a much smaller and portable DJI Mavic Pro.  Both are very capable photo and video platforms that have already been put to good use.

As to the subject of the title, we are going on a two week long "vacation" beginning Thursday morning.  Yes, we still take vacations, but a vacation for us retired folks is more a departure from daily routine than anything else.  Since the fifth wheel trailer had to be put into this space with a very large shoehorn, we are taking the truck only on the journey that starts with four days with family in the SF Bay Area.  

We will then turn the trusty Chevy east and make a rapid run through Nevada, Utah and Idaho to Yellowstone NP.  A nice small cabin located outside the park in Island Park, ID will provide a roof over our heads while we visit Yellowstone and other favorite places in the area like Ennis and Virginia City in Montana.  

I plan to put the portable drone to good use during this trip and will post some of the results in this blog and on Facebook.  Due to others who have abused the privilege, the FAA and National Park Service prohibit the use of drones in national parks, so ground based photos and videos will have to suffice.

So, as Arnold would say, "Hasta la vista baby".