Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, June 14, 2017

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, June 14, 2017
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, June 14, 2017

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cold - Windy - Snow! -- Sat., Mar. 31

Sparks, NV:

Our outside temperature at noon was 60 degrees F. Winds have been gusting up to 55 mph. It's 5:30 p.m. and the temperature has dropped to 45 degrees. AND on top of that, we have snow. Brrrrrrrrrrr. Oh wait, the sun came back out. Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada is supposed to get a foot of snow tonight and 3-5" tomorrow. We should head south for the spring. Oh wait, we are!

Let me back up to this morning. At 10:00 a.m., the kitties had an appointment with the vet for their rabies and distemper vaccinations. Also at 10:00 a.m., Bob had an appointment to take the 5er in for new tires. Division of labor: I took cats to vet; Bob took 5er in for tires.

We got up "early" so we could "batten down the hatches" and get the 5er ready to move. Getting ready to move entails taking down pictures, clock, barometer, outside thermometer, unhooking the utilities, raising the front and back supports, closing the slides--you get the picture.

I put the cats in their respective carriers and proceeded to take care of the inside tasks. I heard Bowie clawing frantically at his carrier. Next thing I knew, he was free! Yikes, kitty escape artist. Turns out on the cage door there are some grooves that little flaps are supposed to clip into, but I hadn't clipped them. I captured Bowie, put him back in the cage, and faced the door of the cage toward a cupboard.

When I finished preparing the inside of the rig, I put the cats in the back of my car (in their carriers). Bob finished up on the outside, hooked up the truck and both of us pulled out. I noticed that one of the 5er's brake lights is out. One more small repair to do before our trip.

The vet visit went well. Kitties are vaccinated and Sunnie now has his microchip. We went back to the RV park to wait for Bob to return. No Bob, no 5er. I let the kitties out of their carriers so they could roam around the car. Luckily, we put a kitty litter box in the back. We were without our home for an hour and 20 minutes. During that time, I had two cats in my lap, crawling under the front seat to get to the backseat, under the gas and brake pedals, in and out of the litter box, rubbing on me, settling down, moving around, in general REALLY getting to know the layout of the car. We were all very happy when Bob returned.

We put the cats in the 5er and took off to go look at a bike for me. On craigslist Bob found a nice Schwinn mountain bike with a gel seat, water bottle holder with water bottle, comfort handlebars and a zippered pouch. As we were driving to look at the bike we saw a duststorm in the general direction we were headed. I got to test drive the bike with a very strong wind which I could barely pedal against. When I turned the bike around I didn't need to pedal because the wind blew me down the street. All I had to do was use the brakes.

Bob is looking for a mountain bike as well. When we returned to the 5er after purchasing my bike, I noticed that a big pile of CDs and DVDs had fallen out of an overhead cupboard. We had tied the cupboard doors closed with twine, but the twine broke. Cleaned up the mess. Another item to take care of before the road trip--buy a piece of plywood to wedge in the cupboard to keep things from falling out. Buy zip ties to hold cupboards closed.

Bob took a nap, then went to work out. When he left, he said, "I'll see you in a few hours." I guess he has a long workout planned.

Life is good (except for being cold!). We'll remedy that soon enough with our Texas trip...I think we'll be in temps from 77-100 degrees in south Texas. Big change coming.

In one of my recent blogs, I posted that Sparks Marina RV Park is filling up, but that the travelers would probably stay a night and move on. Wrong! It's spring break and there are lots of families with kids who are most likely here for a week. They've been outside playing football, riding bikes and scooters, and I think a few families went fishing today. I can tell you it was not a pleasant day for fishing. Sparks Marina Lake, for example, was angry with waves and whitecaps. We saw the fishing families return around 1:30 p.m. when it was snowing lightly.

Enjoy your journeys. Travel Bug out.


Friday, March 30, 2012

"Taking Care of Business" -- Friday, Mar. 30

Mobile RV repair person came today and the following are fixed:
  1. Leaking ball joint at toilet flush foot pedal replaced
  2. Leaking washer at outside drain repaired
  3. Blind that wouldn't go up now goes up
  4. Two gas burners on stove top wouldn't light. Not broken, just needed more tries so gas is available to start the flame
  5. One drawer slide fixed
  6. Two drawer latches fixed (third one is completely broken, so couldn't fix)
  7. Broken plastic brace under slide repaired with metal braces
Making repairs to brace slide out.
Fur kid photos:


Names should be Yin and Yang


Waiting for dental floss playtime.


Open shower door, insert two cats.


Serene Sunnie
Bob is out running errands to replace small light bulb, refill propane, etc. I have been vacuuming, washing dishes, blogging.


Sparks Marina RV Park is starting to fill up. It had been so empty for a month. Many people are just passing through and will be gone tomorrow.


Wind hasn't died down much. It whistles around the windows and shakes the rig. Cats are used to it now.


Wednesday I am driving to Stockton to visit my Aunt Genie. She invited me to stay the night, so I will drive back Thursday a.m. I haven't seen her since my dad passed away.


Tonight we're off to Grimaldi's Brick Oven Pizza at Legends Mall for dinner. Yum! I've been wanting to try it. 
Grimaldi's Brick Coal-Fired Pizzeria 
Grimaldi's was very good, but is the upper crust of pizza parlors. We ordered a large pizza ($18) with four toppings: chicken ($5), mushroom ($2), roasted red peppers ($4) and extra Grimaldi's sauce ($2) --plus one Mountain Dew. The total bill was $33.00. NOTE: This makes me wonder how Costco can sell a pizza for $4.99???

Donner Pass on I-80 is supposed to get over a foot of snow this weekend! Isn't it almost April??

P.S. Blogging Challenge A to Z

I forgot to mention, I signed up for the "Blogging Challenge A to Z" in the month of April. The challenge is to write a blog a day, starting on April 1 with the letter A used to create the title for that day, the letter B used to create the title for April 2, and so on. For the rest of the month the blogs will be written only Monday through Saturday (Sundays off). I can handle this! Now, we just need to make sure we have internet connections everywhere on our trip so I can post the blogs!

If you want more information on the challenge or want to sign up to blog, you can click on the link at the top right of my blog page. 

Happy trails. Travel Bug out.

Boo Boos and Repairs -- Friday, Mar. 30

Sparks, NV:
Sunnie loves my new laptop. Sometimes when I walk away for a few minutes I come back to find him sitting very comfortably on my keyboard. Bad kitty.

Thursday, for example, I put my computer on hibernate and we went to the post office, grocery shopping and the bank. I forgot to put the top down on my laptop when we left the rig.

When we returned from our errands, the screen on my computer was black, as usual, when it hibernates. I turned it back on. "WARNING!" in huge red letters came up on my screen with a message that my computer was going to reinstall the Factory settings! At the bottom of the screen I could click "Yes" or "No." I had no idea what I was clicking yes or not to. OMG now what do I do? I did a hard shut down on my computer and turned it back on...same message! Time for more help. I called my son who minored in computer information technology in college.

I explained the situation to him. He told me to do a hard shutdown. I told him I had just done that. He said, "Do it again." So I did, and wouldn't you know it, the computer opened up normally! He then had me do a "Restart" just to make sure it was good to go. He also said it was good the cat didn't get his paws on the keys that would click "Yes" and completely reset to the Factory settings. Note to self: ALWAYS put the cover down when you hibernate the laptop. No more kitty feet commanding my computer what to do!

We checked some items off our to-do list on Thursday: got our passport photos, mailed the passport renewals to Pennsylvania, contacted a mobile RV repair company to come out tomorrow to fix TWO burners on our stove that aren't working, repair a couple of leaks, and see if he can repair a plastic brace under one of our slide outs that is broken (we think from the strong winds).

Saturday, Bob will take the 5er to have four new tires installed and I will take the fur-kids to the vet for their annual vaccinations and a check up.

I have been spending a lot of time reading blogs of people who are gate guards in Texas. Looks like that will be our next job after the RV rally (May to the end of July). Southern Texas in summer--rattlesnakes, scorpions, thunderstorms, dust, mud, working 24/7, isolated and, on the positive side, roadrunners, hummingbirds, dark skies for star-gazing, time to read, blog, do jigsaw puzzles, and the pay is good. I feel like we're going out to the frontier!

We will most likely have oodles of stories to tell.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

In Transition - Thurs., Mar. 29

Sparks, NV:
We are officially in transition. The to-do list is getting longer:
  • Notify current RV park we won't be coming back 
  • Take cats in for vaccinations (due in April) and general health exams
  • Research new 5er tires, purchase and have installed before trip
  • Work out more (canceling our health club membership next week)
  • Buy bikes
  • Get quote on some RV repairs, i.e., two water leaks, get burner on stove working (two work, one is out), replace broken plastic drawer clasps, and maybe fix the pull-down shade on one of our windows that won't go back up (last item not urgent)
  • Do local Volkswalks
  • Susan to visit her aunt and cousins in California before we move out
  • Renew passports
  • Call relatives in Las Vegas and Phoenix to let them know when we'll be there
  • Buy tire covers
  • Sign up for service to allow us to get internet, phones and cable TV in remote areas
  • Finish up work with financial planner
  • Notify RV park in Fernley we need reservation for October to December 2012 for amazon.com work
  • Re-pack our belongings in the 5er to redistribute the weight and make things more compact
  • Use up meat and eggs before we move
We made a reservation at Camping World in Las Vegas to have our replacement awning installed. Long story short: When we purchased our 5er, the slide out awning over our dining area was ripped and we asked Camping World to replace it before we left last October. They did not get the part before we left and told us the part was on order. When the new awning came in, they shipped it to us in Sparks, but there is no Camping World in the Reno/Sparks area. When we get to the Las Vegas Camping World, they will install the awning and back charge the Wood Village, Oregon, Camping World for the repair.

On a different note, the fur-kids get so wound up sometimes when they play or they see a new opportunity to explore. For example, if I open the shower door, both cats go in and inspect every inch, play with the drain plug (roll it around in the tub as it makes lots of noise), knock our razors off the ledges, try to drink any drop of water that might come out of the faucet, and sometimes Bowie will just sit in the tub. Go figure.

Tonight, Bob left one of our overhead cabinets open. Next thing I know, Sunnie has climbed five feet up the upholstered decor around our windows to try to get in the cupboard. (He almost made it before I made him get down.)

Heaven forbid we leave the closet door ajar. Soon two cats are in the closet pulling things off the shelf and clothes off the hangers.

Bowie's mission on any given day or night is to pull towels off the racks, the back of the chair where I put them to dry over the heater vent, or the shower door. Bowie is also the morning alarm clock--right on schedule: 6:00 a.m. But we love them dearly, the little buggers.

The kitties came with harnesses, but they have outgrown them. I want to get them new ones so we can take them outside and walk them. They already have nice leashes for their harnesses.

We are taking life one day at a time. Bob reviews the budget with me periodically. I'm happy he does it so we can continue living within our means and pay off our debt. Thank you, honey.

He also subscribes to the work kamper newsletter and keeps up to date on available jobs around the country. So many opportunities and all the time in the world!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Whack Upside the Head -- Tues., Mar. 27

Life is crazy sometimes, isn't it? Another wrinkle has been creased into the fabric of our lives. 

Bob lost his job Monday. A bit of a shock, but as Tom Petty sings, "The future is wide open." There are so many opportunities out there for workampers.

We leave for Texas in 1-1/2 weeks. Our plan was to leave my car here and return to Sparks, BUT now we can do whatever we want. My Escape pod will be coming with us on this trip. 

One of our options, since we will be in Texas, is to become gate guards for an oil company. We've been reading blogs about this type of work and it seems busy, dirty and remote, but it pays pretty well. Looks like we could work May through July as gate guards (if there is a position available) then take our month-long Yellowstone trip. After Yellowstone, we would head to Portland for my sister, Jan's, wedding on September 22. 

With that schedule, it would be logical for us to return to Sparks in October to work at amazon.com in Fernley again.

So, next week a new adventure begins. We keep reinventing ourselves...pretty cool.

Monday, March 26, 2012

5th Wheel Tires

After reading the comment and attached blog on RV Tires on my last post http://travelbug-susan.blogspot.com/2012/03/anticipation-sun-mar-25.html, I think it would be prudent to replace all four tires and probably the spare as well. Logically, it is much cheaper to prevent a blow-out and resultant damage while towing such a heavy trailer!

Our car and truck have new tires...it seems unwise to have old tires on our "home," which is our costliest possession.

Thank you to Brian for your comment.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Anticipation! - Sun., Mar. 25

Sparks, NV:
Two weeks until launch on our cross-country trip to Texas Hill Country. This will be our longest trip yet with our 5er AND the cats.

Yesterday we loaded the cats into their car-riding cage, packed up the 5th wheel and towed it over to Les Schwab to have our tires checked (they're from 2003). The kitties caterwauled the whole 1/2 mile to Les Schwab, making it known that they didn't like the trip in the moving vehicle. Stressed out kitties! We have a kitty litter box (clean) in their cage. Even though they had 1/2 of the cage for the two of them, they decided they liked the kitty litter box and were in and out of it, laid down in it and completely covered themselves and the back seat of Bob's truck in kitty litter. Messy. We will have to come up with a shelf above the box so they have more room to relax. We're hoping they will adapt to travel for our long trip. If they don't, we'll be listening to "kitty music" all the way there and back!

Les Schwab checked our 5er tires thoroughly, in the tread and around the backside. No signs of any cracking. They gave our tires a clean bill of health for the trip to Texas. In fact, they said whoever had the 5er before us must have kept it inside because for such old tires they are in really good shape.

Bob and I have been checking out AAA maps and TourBooks, Reader's Digest See the USA the Easy Way, and assorted other books and online sites to plan for our trip. Here's a short list of we plan to do (as of now):
  • One night in Las Vegas to visit relatives
  • One night in Phoenix to visit relatives on the way to Texas; one night to visit friends in Phoenix on the way back from Texas
  • Big Bend National Park--two to three nights
  • San Antonio--looks like we need a few days here!
    • Riverwalk
    • Volkswalk in San Antonio (Fiesta San Antonio, San Antonio Missions National Historic Park)
    • Spurs/Blazers basketball game
    • Alamo
    • Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
    • Natural Bridge Caverns
    • San Antonio Botanical Garden
    • Six Flags Fiesta Texas (??)
    • The McNay Art Museum (??)
  • Medina River Scenic Drive
  • Austin
  • New Braunfels
  • Fredericksburg
    • National Museum of the Pacific War (Really? Here? Seems Admiral Nimitz was raised here!)
  • Enchanted Rock
  • Pedernales Falls State Park
  • Corpus Christi
    • U.S.S. Lexington
    • Texas State Aquarium
    • Padre Island National Seashore
Well that's quite a list people! It doesn't include spontaneous options that crop up along the way. I think we're going to have a blast.

The countdown begins...12 days and counting...

Travel Bug out.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kitty pics -- Thurs., Mar. 22

Sparks, NV:
Today we met with our financial advisers for 1-1/2 hours. Good meeting. Gave us some things to think about.

I got the results from my employment agency testing: Word--advanced; Excel--advanced; Outlook--strong intermediate; Windows--advanced; data entry--solid score with one error. Woo hoo. They need to test me on PowerPoint too.

AWAKE fur-kid pics today:
Mom, we LOVE looking out the door!


It's time for a stare-down!

Sunnie wins the stare-down

How adorable am I?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Job search -- Wed., Mar., 21

Reno, NV:
Today is interview day. I have an appointment at 11:00 a.m. at Applied Staffing to sign up for temporary work. Of the temporary agencies I sent my resume to, Applied Staffing is the only one that called me back. My first impression on walking through their door is that this is a hopping company. Quite a few people were filling out applications and people were coming and going the whole time I was there.

After filling out their paperwork, I was directed to Judy's office for my appointment. She is a Senior Staffing Partner who places admin/clerical help. We talked for a while and I explained I'm looking for temporary, fill-in work for employees who are on vacation, medical leave, maternity leave, etc. She said not many people come in looking for temporary work so I have an advantage when those requests come in. Computer testing is now done on your home computer through an online testing agency. How cool is that? I didn't have to sit through 2-1/2 hours of testing in their office on an unfamiliar computer.

At 3:30 p.m. I had an interview for a part-time job at a garden hardscapes company. This job requires working the full gardening season (through fall) so we both agreed, this job would not work for her or me.

When I got back to the 5er, Judy at Applied Staffing had emailed the link to my online testing. I was able to complete tests for Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and the data entry test, but my computer hung up on the Microsoft Windows test and their technical department couldn't fix it. I notified Judy by email that I was unable to complete the Windows testing.

At night, I watched "Survivor," "America's Next Top Model," and "CSI."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring travel -- Tues., Mar. 20

King City, Oregon to Sparks, Nevada:
Today is my travel day window of opportunity--must get through before new round of snowstorms hit. I woke up at 4:15 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep. Apparently Mom did the same. I could see the light on under her bedroom door when I got up. I had breakfast and checked the weather on NOAA.gov one more time. No snow predicted in the mountains after 11:00 a.m. and I would be going through after 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast was good--Mom's home-made granola and an orange. All my packing was complete, so I loaded up the car with luggage, chocolate chip cookies made from scratch, and an egg salad sandwich with dill pickle that Mom made for me. She even packed each half of the sandwich in its own baggie! What a sweetie she is. We said our good-byes and I headed off on my journey.

First stop: Beaverton Bakery in Lake Oswego. It opened at 6:00 a.m. I was in the door by 6:15 a.m., ordered 2 pecan rolls, 2 caramelized pecan rolls, raspberry danish, cherry danish, buttermilk bar, glazed old-fashioned doughnut and a chocolate Bismarck, plus I bought a loaf of cinnamon bread (had to buy some to take home to Bob). I'll tell you what, if I got stuck in a snow storm, I'd be happy for a few days!

I-5 driving was awful. It was dark and rainy with lots of traffic for the first hour. The worst part is driving near the big semis...the spray is blinding. At a rest area south of Medford I stopped for a break at 10:30 a.m. and ate half my egg salad sandwich plus a raspberry danish. 

Ashland was where I stopped to fill up the gas tank. I wanted to buy gas in Oregon for $3.99/gallon at Arco, not $4.35 or more in California. No way, no how was I going to pay California's inflated prices for gas!

Just south of Ashland, I-5 climbs up to Siskiyou Summit, the highest pass on I-5. I got there right around 11:00 a.m. It was obvious the road had been snowy and icy. Sanding trucks were still sanding the side roads off the freeway at the summit. Because of the amount of traffic on I-5, the freeway was free of ice and snow. All that remained was the "sand" (ground up red lava rock) and moisture.

The semi drivers must have been keeping up with the forecast as the majority of the traffic on I-5 was semi trucks. They wanted to get to where they were going while the going was good!

I stopped briefly at the Weed Rest Area to use the facilities and get a couple of pics.
Mt. Shasta covered in clouds

Shastina
On the road again, I headed south to US Hwy 89 toward McCloud, CA. The weather ranged from rain to light snow to sun, but the snow did not stick on the road.

My best stop was at McArthur Burney Falls State Park. I LOVE waterfalls and this is one of the prettiest on the West Coast, especially in spring when it is running full. I spent an hour at the park (paid my $8.00 Day Use Fee) where I walked to the waterfall viewpoint, ate lunch (outside at a picnic table and the sun came out!), drove through the campground area to Lake Britton. Gorgeous. I had my nature fix. 

Burney Falls has springs coming out of the wall.

Burney Falls

Close-up of springs flowing from canyon wall.
Deer grazing in campground. Campground closed for winter.

Lunch in picnic area.

My Escape pod.

Trail from Lake Britton to Burney Falls

Picture of Lake Britton from inside my car.

Trail sign

Manzanita plant in bloom.

Close-up of manzanita blooms.
Ah, a nice breath of fresh air to energize me for remainder of the drive home. I am so glad traffic was super light going across the mountains to Susanville, CA. Speed limit on the roads was 65 mph except through small towns where it dropped to 55 mph. Susanville, being a larger town, had a speed limit of 30 mph.

Here are a few more pictures taken in the mountains between Burney Falls and Susanville.
 

Actively snowing!

Leaving the rest area...
...heading into beautiful weather.

























I made it home by 5:00 p.m. and unpacked, then relaxed. It was good to get home safely and see my honey again.





Monday, March 19, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies! - Mon., Mar. 19


King City, OR:
I woke up to Mom in the kitchen making chocolate chip cookies. It brought back reminders of my childhood. She wanted to bake cookies for me to take home to Bob. Thanks, Mom! 

The Sunday Oregonian was out on the dining room table, along with today's paper, so I read them while I ate breakfast. 

Mom mentioned that she wanted to see "Mission Impossible 4." Since the movie has been out for a long time, I thought going to see it today was going to be an impossible mission, especially since the first two theater showtimes were for either 8:45 or 9:10 p.m. tonight (right about now). I plan to leave the house around 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning so a late-night movie wasn't going to happen.

Fandango made this movie-going mission possible. I found MI 4 at 3:45 p.m. in Vancouver, WA. 

Road trip! Off we went with our first stop the AAA office in Lake Oswego where I picked up two tourbooks for our trip to Texas. 

We made it to the movie theater in 1/2 hour. Barnes & Noble provided entertainment while we waited for the movie to start. I bought "Hunger Games" as I'd like to read it before I see the movie.

Mom loved MI 4. It was the third time I'd seen it and it was just as good as the first time!

On Wednesday, I have an interview in Reno, NV with a temporary agency to see if I can get temporary fill-in work for vacations, illnesses or maternity leaves. 

Must get to sleep. I'll be up at 4:45 a.m. for an early start.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wild weather, fun day - Sun., Mar. 18

Portland, OR:
Today is girlfriend day. At 11:10 a.m., I met my friend Cathy who I used to work with at AAA. We saw "Act of Valor." Both of us enjoyed the movie a lot. It is so exciting.

When we exited the theater, it was snowing--very wet snow which didn't stick. 

After the movie, Cathy asked where I'd like to go for lunch and she started naming restaurants. When she got to "Spaghetti Factory," I said, "That's the place." We had an excellent lunch and an enjoyable time talking.

From Clackamas I headed over to our duplex in Tigard to pick up some of our mail  that was there. While I was in the driveway at the duplex, my friend Dee called and we made arrangements for me to meet her in North Plains and follow her to her place.

On the way to North Plains, a heavy hailstorm hit. I slowed way down because I didn't want my car to slide. It lasted about three minutes and the freeway was completely white.

I spent a couple of hours with Dee at her place. We took a 1/2 hour walk on back roads. Later while we were sitting in her living room talking, some deer walked by. She said sometimes they come right up to her living room window. Sweet.

The drive back from Dee's was so pretty. It was late afternoon and the sun was shining brightly on the green fields and hills of North Plains.
North Plains, Oregon--Dairy Creek area

Beautiful Oregon spring late afternoon

Love Oregon farmland in spring!
On my way back to mom's, I stopped by my nephew's apartment to pick up some paperwork for new renters in our duplex and reimburse him for installation of new blinds.

Susan out.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

No Blarney! It's St. Patrick's Day - Sat., Mar. 17

King City/Wilsonville/Beaverton, OR:

A brief note about yesterday (Friday): I got up and started my day as usual. As soon as I got in the shower, vertigo started. My head was spinning, but I tried to keep it at bay. I did pretty well but I got sweaty and felt nauseous. I did not get a full-blown attack. Spent most of the day sitting quietly. At 6:00 p.m., I had a dinner date with our good friends Claude and Penny. Claude made fajitas and refried beans. Penny made a bean salad. Dinner was excellent and our conversation was fun. We talked about their jewelry business, Marco Polo Designs, their trips to Italy and our fifth wheel adventure. Claude's birthday is next week, so I took Bliss Cupcakes over for dessert. A very nice, quiet evening.

Today started out with Mom and I running errands. We cruised down I-5 to Wilsonville where we picked out a cake for tonight's dessert, I checked our mailbox, and went to Costco to have air put in my tires and bought fuel for my car.

My sister invited the family over for corned beef & cabbage dinner. Mom, my brother and sister in law, my son and my sister's boyfriend were all there. 

The dinner was excellent. Along with the corned beef & cabbage, she served a BIG green salad, parslied new potatoes, beets, pearl onions, turnips, sweet mustard and yellow mustard. Plus my son brought some delicious butter croissants. For dessert, Mom and I brought a banana cream cake from Thriftway. Plus there were six bottles of wine and two bottles of champagne. (We didn't drink all that, but we made a dent!)



Jan, Charlie, Mom, Gina, Frank and Mike

Corned beef, cabbage, new potatoes, beets, carrots,pearl onions, croissants, wine (green salad already consumed)


At the end of dinner, I was at the table talking to Mike (my son) and I started feeling dizzy. When we got up to go in the living room, I sat down on the couch and got quiet for about 5-10 minutes. That little bit of quiet time helped and the vertigo went away.


After dinner we played two tables of pinochle (four rounds). It was so fun. 

The evening was capped off by my sister and Charlie announcing they got engaged last night. Woo hoo! Congratulations you two! (The reason champagne was on hand.)

When I talked to Bob this evening, he said it's snowing in Sparks/Reno tonight. He spent his evening at a baseball game, then played a little blackjack and walked around downtown Reno. He said the kitties are doing well. 

All for tonight. Travel Bug out.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom! - Thurs., Mar. 15

Woodburn/Multnomah, OR:
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, dear Mom, happy birthday to you.

After a small breakfast, Mom and I headed south on I-5--in pouring rain--to the Woodburn Factory Outlet Stores. My goal: to buy Mom a new leather purse for her birthday. We LOVE the Woodburn Outlet Mall...there are lots of stores AND today there were big sales (up to 70% off).

The first store we went in had very nice leather purses, but their prices were pretty steep ($200-$400). We didn't spend long in there.

Wilson's Leather had a purse Mom thought was pretty good but she wanted to keep looking. 

We found a shoe store with a good choice of leather purses and she found two that called her name. (Same purse, but it came in two different colors: one black and white; the other tan and white.) She ended up buying the black and white one. It's a very classy purse with lots of pockets for storing everything she carries with her. It wasn't on sale, but the store gave us a 15% AAA discount.

Back north to King City where my sister, Jan, joined us. For lunch, we headed to the little 'burb of Hillsdale. We had planned to go to lunch at Seasons & Regions Seafood Grill, a favorite of ours with $6.95 lunch specials. However, as we got close, we thought we'd go to Otto's German restaurant instead. 

We got to Otto's at 1:45 p.m.; the sign on the door said lunch ended at 2:00 p.m. We went in and the hostess informed us we were welcome to have lunch, but the owners had to leave at 2:00 p.m. and she (hostess/waitress) had to leave at 2:30 p.m. to pick up her son from daycare. After getting situated at our table and perusing the menu, we decided the menu at Seasons & Regions was more to our liking and we didn't want to rush our meal.

We told the waitress at Otto's we decided we needed more time to eat, so we high-tailed it over to Seasons & Regions. They serve lunch until 3:00 p.m. We were so much happier with the menu. Mom got salmon cakes, Jan had the sole parmesan and I had thai peanut chicken on jasmine rice. For dessert the three of us shared raspberry creme brulee and a peach/raspberry cobbler.

With lunch over, we went back to Mom's house and played ten games of Rummikub, had eggs for dinner, and watched "Project Runway." 

We had a wonderful, all-girl, all-day birthday celebration for Mom. 


Travel Bug Susan over and out.







Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Sail" by James Patterson - Wed., Mar. 14

King City/Hillsdale/Beaverton, OR:
When I arrived in King City, Mom had the book "Sail," by James Patterson out for me to read. She told me she couldn't put it down. I started reading it three nights ago. She's absolutely right, I couldn't put it down either (except when I fell asleep). What a page turner! I had it read in three nights and part of one morning. I'm going to take the book home for Bob to read.

Today, our family friend, Jo, is going to lunch with Mom and I. We're off to Seasons & Regions Seafood Grill for their $6.95 lunch. The place fills up quickly at lunch time as does their tiny parking lot. Because we didn't want to park across the street and down a block, then walk in the pouring rain, we got there when they opened at 11:15 a.m. It's a popular place for a number of reasons, chief being they've got an excellent menu with about eight choices for $6.95. Today all three of us opted for the Sole Parmesan lunch. 

When we finished lunch, we dropped Jo off at her house and Mom and I went grocery shopping at New Seasons, headed back to Mom's house and put away the groceries.

Another nice, relaxing day.

Road trip to Portland

King City, OR:
Sunday morning is the day I decided to drive to Portland as the weather looked the best for the upcoming week. Got the car loaded up, kissed Bob good-bye and headed out the door. I guess Bowie thought he was coming with me. He slipped out the door as I was heading out. He's an indoor cat and the only time he had ever been outside was on my shoulder.

First place he headed was under the trailer, then ran under Bob's truck. I was trying to nab him, but he wasn't having any of that. Next stop, under my car

NOTE: Last night I typed a very long blog which I thought was automatically saving. When I was done and turned off the computer a message came up in red saying there was an error saving. The internet had gone down. The blog start above was all that remained. Bummer! I will do my best to remember what I wrote last night.

[Picking up where I left off] Next stop, under my car. I know enough about cats not to get too upset because the cat will pick up on the stress. I asked Bob to get out the cat toy (a length of twine with crumpled up waxed paper tied to the end of it). I dangled the wax paper where Bowie could see it, then dragged it around the wheel where he could only hear it. He "hunted" it and came out from under the car. I was able to snag him and got him back in the 5er.

Once again, I said good-bye to Bob, hopped in the car, and put a CD in the player for later when I was out of range of radio stations. It was 10:00 a.m. 

On the road heading north on US 395 in California, the wind picked up and there were some heavy-duty gusts that shook the car and blew lots of dust. As I turned northwest toward Susanville, I could see that it was snowing in the mountains; however, as the road climbed, it was obvious that the biggest snow shower was to the south of my location. Whew!

The road rapidly climbed up to 4,000' and there was a bit of light rain. The scenery changed from high desert to ponderosa and juniper forests. The drive through the mountains was uneventful and from time-to-time the clouds lifted and the sun came out for a few minutes. Up on the more exposed areas, wind whipped the branches on the trees. In one place it was obvious that a tree had been removed from the road earlier.


There was snow in the forest in some places but none on the road. I had pretty views of mountains (all the way from Weed, CA up through Eugene, OR) with snow above a certain elevation. The trees looked like powdered sugar had been sprinkled on them.

Shastina (cinder cone near Mt. Shasta)


Reminders of why I love springtime in the Pacific Northwest abounded: vibrant green fields, cherry and plum trees blossoming pink and white, new leaves budding out on the trees, daffodils popping up along the freeway and sheep with their new lambs out in the pastures. I felt very lucky to make it north between storms. Along I-5 on Sunday there was very little rain, mostly sun.

When I got to Mom's house, we watched "60 Minutes" and "Amazing Race."  I have classy accommodations--Mom put a Hershey's Kiss on my pillow!

Monday afternoon, we walked around Washington Square Mall for 1/2 hour. Best place to walk when it's rainy, cold and windy is in the mall. We ended up taking our coats off because we got too warm. 
At 2:00 p.m., we went to Barnes & Noble. Mom's friends are getting her a Nook for her birthday, so we went for a tutorial on how to use it. Jason spent about 1/2 hour showing us the features and answering our questions.

After Barnes & Noble, we went to see "The Artist." Both of us enjoyed the show. Although I admit, with no dialogue and lots of music, I slept through part of it.

Today, we went to see "The Vow." I had seen it before but thought Mom would enjoy it. (With my Regal Rewards Card, I received a free movie ticket when we went yesterday, so I used that today.) We both enjoyed the movie. It's very romantic and based on a true story.

After the movie, our friends Kimmie and Ky took us to dinner at Sweet Tomatoes for Mom's birthday. They are wonderful friends. (Mom met Kimmie when they both worked at the same place.)


When my old computer hard drive died, I bought a new laptop. Because I had no need for my old monitor, tower, speakers, and keyboard, we took those to my son, Michael, and he can do with them what he wants.

From Michael's  place, we visited my nephew, Scott, and his family for a few minutes. Then it was off to Barnes & Noble again. Mom took in her new Nook and they upgraded the software to the latest version. She bought a screen protector, which they installed, and she got a nice cover for it. They helped her set up her account as well. Tomorrow we will hook her Nook up to the computer and she can start downloading books to it.

About our weather...this morning around 11:00 a.m., the snow was coming down in big wet flakes, but it was quite windy so the snow was blowing horizontally across the golf course. Very beautiful watching it out the living room window. It was too warm for it to stick.

The Oregon Coast (Lincoln City) had eight inches of snow down to sea level--a record in the 100 years records have been kept!

Tonight I talked to Bob on the phone. He said it was so windy in Sparks last night, it kept him awake all night. Tonight, he closed two of our slide outs because of the wind...it was causing the awnings to flap very loudly.

Isn't it spring next week? I guess winter is going out with a roar.

For St. Patrick's Day, we thought about going out to an Irish Pub for corned beef  and cabbage dinner; however, we could not get reservations. My sister, Janyce, is going to cook a corned beef dinner and have us over on Saturday night. Yummy! I'll get to meet her boyfriend, Charlie. She first told us about him when we visited in October. She's crazy about him.

As far as my return trip to Sparks, I'm keeping an eye on the weather. Looks like maybe Monday or Tuesday next week. I bet there will be a lot more snow over the passes on my way home, but hopefully not on the roads!



Saturday, March 10, 2012

Odds and Ends -- Week of March 5-9, 2012

Odds and ends from this week:
On Monday, Bob drove to Mammoth Lakes, CA to prepare for a job start next Monday. I need to mention the price of gas around here. Sunday, in Incline Village, NV, we saw regular gas at $4.53 per gallon. Bob called me Monday while he was on the road and said regular gas price in Bridgeport, CA was $5.09/gallon!! 

Holy smokes, when will the gas price climb insanity stop. What has caused this? Are the gas companies raising prices just because they can? We have got to stop being so dependent on foreign oil. I thought we had plenty of gas coming out of Alaska and South America. So what gives? I know there are speculators who drive the price of a barrel of oil. Is the only cure to stop driving? Comments anyone?

You never know when it's going to snow around here. One day it was 68 degrees, the next day 36 degrees and snowing. The snow took form of small pellets. They didn't stick but with the high winds that accompanied the snow, we had cool snow patterns blowing around on the freeway.

On Monday, I got my hair cut. Tuesday, I went to see "The Secret World of Arietty," an animated film. It was cute and got good reviews, but the only thing I truly enjoyed was the artwork in the movie.  

We planned to go to Las Vegas this weekend as Bob signed up for the Red Rock Marathon. Our plans were arranged and we were going to take the kitties on the road trip to see how they would do. Friends of the family were gracious enough to take us in for two nights, cats and all. (They have two lilac point Siamese.)

Unfortunately, Bob was sick most of the week with fever, achiness, loss of appetite and a deep, dry cough. He barely ate anything for three days, came home, coughed and slept. His cough was so bad, his abdominal muscles hurt. On Thursday, he decided it wouldn't be good to travel eight hours each direction to do a run he hadn't properly prepared for. We called off the trip.

I came down with a milder version of what Bob had with only one day of chills and coughing, no loss of appetite. Today I felt fine except for a full-fledged attack of vertigo in the evening. It passed and I am feeling better.

This afternoon, I cooked spaghetti sauce, steamed asparagus and zucchini and made a huge salad with mixed greens, red cabbage, chopped pecans, tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, red peppers and avocados. Yum! I like to make sure Bob has lots of good food around while I'm gone. Tomorrow, I will cook the spaghetti noodles and make some hard-boiled eggs.

This evening we watched "Shark Tank," our second favorite show after "Amazing Race." 

Tomorrow, I will do laundry and pack for my trip.

My plan for next week was to drive to Portland on Tuesday and spend a week or so with Mom for her birthday. However, with the cancellation of our Vegas trip and looking at the weather forecast for the upcoming week, I decided to head to Portland on Sunday. I want to beat the incoming snowstorm which is scheduled to hit the high passes after 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. I'm trusting NOAA's forecast on this one. 

I will leave around 8:00 a.m. on Sunday and should be through all the passes in California and southern Oregon before 4:00 p.m. If all goes according to plan, I should be in Portland by 7:00 p.m. Wish me luck.

North Lake Tahoe - Sun., Mar. 4, 2012

Incline Village, NV:
Today we headed up Mt. Rose Highway to Incline Village at Lake Tahoe. The day was absolutely gorgeous! 

Once we left Reno, the road climbed rapidly to 8,900', the highest year-round pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains. On our upward climb, we passed the City of Reno ski area, Mt. Rose Slide Ski Area and Mt. Rose Ski Area.


The drive to Incline Village on Lake Tahoe took approximately 40 minutes from Reno. Not bad to go from high desert to gorgeous forest. 

Scenic overlook--Lake Tahoe.




We drove around the high-end lakefront homes in Incline Village. It was hard to believe some of those homes were one house, they were so big! We made a quick stop at a lakeside park which in the summer is only open to local residents. In the winter there is no guard at the guardhouse so we went on in.




From Incline Village, we headed up to North Shore Tahoe and had lunch at Brockway Bakery and Art Gallery in Kings Beach, CA. Bob enjoyed his tuna melt. I tried something different, an open face toasted cheese, green chile and tomato sandwich. It was okay. Bob tasted it. He liked it better than I did. 

We then headed for home after a great afternoon in the mountains.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Home Stretch - Wed., Mar. 1, 2012

Ely, NV to Sparks, NV
We woke up to sunny skies and frozen ground. Bob went out to scrape the snow/ice from his truck. 

Free breakfast was included with our overnight stay, so we went across the street to Ramada's restaurant and loaded up on scrambled eggs, hash browns and fruit to fortify us for our journey across seven or so mountain ranges. 


Downtown Ely, NV

Heading out of Ely, NV Thursday morning. Road plowed!

I finally got my picture of "The Loneliest Road in America" sign outside Austin, NV.

Wicked icicles on the lug nuts. How cool is that?

Dirty, icy truck!
We left Ely at 7:00 a.m., traveled across Hwy 50 and I-80 back to Sparks. The highway had been plowed and sanded overnight. Our worst weather on the return trip was high winds just east of Fallon. Wouldn't you know, the air force "Top Gun" jets were out doing maneuvers in the wind as well as a military helicopter. I was nervous watching them. 

Our journey back to Sparks came to a close around 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. The cats survived us being out an extra night. (Good planning to put an extra litter box out for them.) Nothing in the rig was destroyed. Our "cat proofing" paid off.

Here's the little darlings, no worse for wear...