Southern California

Monday 3rd December 2018

We love coastal hiking.  Blue skies, crashing waves and plenty of seals and sea otters to watch.

There are so many white herons on the southern California coast.

I have no idea what this is but it looks like it’s been here a long time.

The harbor in Ventura has a great walking path.

It was just the two of us for Thanksgiving dinner but we made the best of it.  At least there was no cooking for a couple of days after.

Santa Barbara always looks good. The views from the County Courthouse are lovely.

There is lots of great tile work inside the building. From the floors to the stairs and walls.

And so many pots.

The wrought iron railings are also pretty fancy.

With lots of curvy bits.

California park restrooms are becoming very socially correct.

Ahhhh! So good to see my Jay at last.  He gave us another peek at his metabolomics lab.  He just added another big machine. His lab is now up and running and analyzing such diverse things as pomegranates to earthworms.

The University campus is gridlock and we felt lucky to snag this spot for a picnic lunch.

Our grand dog Maya was also pretty thrilled to see us.

On to the Palm Springs area for all of December and we get Jay for Christmas.  Yippee!

 

 

Posted in Travel | 6 Comments

California

Saturday 3rd November 2018

Just a glimpse of Mount Shasta as we head south.

IMG_3043

We had a nice day out at Lassen National Park. A couple miles up the trail we came across this pretty little waterfall.

IMG_3059

One lonely Scarlet Gilia. Everything else was done for. Next time we visit it has to be in the summer when all the flowers are blooming.

IMG_3058

Lassen is known for its volcanic activity. This cauldron of mud was bubbling away.

IMG_3049

This little campground was neat as a pin and a lot water was keeping everything green. All the trees had had some serious trimming.

IMG_3064

Further down the coast we enjoyed a couple of days hiking in Pinnacles National Park.

IMG_3110

An eleven mile roundtrip hike took us through some cavey areas.

IMG_3094

This cute Tarantula stopped to say hello.

IMG_3077

There were many steps up and down carved into the rock.

IMG_3102

Thank goodness for the handrail in some of the steepest areas.

We were lucky with the wildlife sighting that day. This Rat Snake was having a nap on a log as we passed by.  We even saw some Condors flying overhead but they were too far away for a pic.

IMG_3085

The terrain was so varied and the sky was such a deep blue. What a lovely day!

Everything is big in California even the pinecones.

Moving further down the coast we stopped for a visit at Hearst Castle. This massive house was  built back in the 1920’s for William Hearst and is now a State Park.

It has a huge out door pool….

and a ginormous  indoor pool.

I guess the guy was into guest bling. This was a typical guest bedroom.

However his own bedroom was rather plain.

His personal library was a good size. How many chairs can you sit in at one time.

I liked looking at the doors.

Plenty of knobby doors.

This one was over the top with carvings.

The Elephant Seals are flocking into the San Simeon area.

This petite female is probably about 1000 lbs.  The males can reach 3000-5000 lbs.

Still traveling  south on the coast. Moving closer to my number 2 son.  Jay, get your Mom hugging arms ready.

 

Posted in Travel | 10 Comments

Oregon

Sunday 30th September 2018

I finally got some son hugging time.

IMG_2966

We had a super couple of weeks visiting with Dax and Monique.

IMG_2851

Demonstrating some yogary skills.

IMG_2792

I gave Monique a soap making lesson and she looks pretty happy with the results.

IMG_1326

I sorted through some baby stuff I had stored. My mother knitted this outfit for Dax.

My Mom, Dad, myself with  the newly hatched whippersnapper in 1984.

Image1-310 copy 3

Dax only got to wear this pretty outfit a few times as he grew like a weed.

Image1-300 copy 4

We got some nice pictures with the use of Dax’s long arms.

IMG_2899

We drove to Hood River and stopped by our old camping spot.  It sure has gone downhill.

IMG_2734

We stayed here several summers when Dean worked at the local hospital.  I kept the grass watered and mowed and it was pretty nice back in the day.

IMG_0424

A stop in Hood River is not complete unless we visit with our good friends Teta and Lee.  Thanks Guys for a lovely day. Teta, the grub was delicious.

We finally got our replacement roof top air conditioner delivered to our campsite in Portland. Dax was kind enough to offer his brute strength.  Dean is doing a nice job in management.

IMG_2910

Dax made it look so effortless hauling the 110 pound box up the ladder.

IMG_2919

It was a lot easier getting the busted one down.

IMG_2930

All installed and working nicely. Someone looks very pleased.

IMG_2937

We managed to have a lunch date with Paige and Rod.  It was great catching up on our families.

IMG_2757

One last visit from Dax and Monique.  Of course a free meal might have enticed them a bit.

IMG_2888

See you next year dear children.

IMG_3999

What a lovely time we had visiting our good friends Sandy and Charles.  Thanks so much for the great meal and hospitality. Georgia and Gus you made the evening very special.  I think we are all aging very nicely.

I was chuffed to make a little trip to the Dahlia gardens in Canby.

IMG_2948

Aggghhh! My happy place.

IMG_2945

We had a few days at the Jordan RV Resort in Grants Pass.

IMG_3035

Thanks so much Calleen and Jon for the great RV parking spot. It was a fun time.

IMG_3038

Heading to Redding California today.  Goodbye Oregon.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Travel | 14 Comments

Moving towards Oregon

Thursday August 30th 2018 

We had a few nice days at Glacier National Park.  The flowers were mostly finished but there was still some snow left on the Mountains.

IMG_2544

We were lucky to miss the smoke from some wildfires in the area.  A lovely clear blue sky and fresh clean air to breathe was great!

IMG_2550

This Marmot eyeballed us on the trail.

IMG_2557

I don’t think he liked what he saw because he chased us up the trail quite a bit.

IMG_2561

The snowmelt lakes were crystal clear.

IMG_2541

We then headed into the smoky nether regions of Montana. The beast starting conking out.  We spent quite some time and quite a lot of dollars as the beast required heart surgery. A new turbo charger was finally inserted and yippee! we were able to move on.

We moved from hot and smoky to more hot and smoky. Did I mention HOT!!!!!!

IMG_2606

At least we got to visit The Manhattan Project National Historical Park.  There is nothing like visiting a nuclear waste site to get you energized.

IMG_2594

The control station in the B Reactor building kept a constant watch on all the rods.

IMG_2598

The actual reactor core contained all these tubes and rods. The technical stuff was above my head but I managed to grasp a whole bunch of scary stuff was built in a very short period of time.

IMG_2599

Here are just a few of the signs that covered the place back in 1944.

IMG_2597

We had visited the Trinity site in New Mexico in 2007 where the first nuclear bomb was exploded in 1945.  The plutonium came from the B Reactor.  Time to move on from the hot spots….

DSC01167

We had a couple of weeks in Bend, Oregon.  I think the whole of the West coast is on fire. It’s almost impossible to evade the smoke.  A little hike in the mountains helped.

IMG_2613

This tree made a very convenient and comfy seat for Rose.

IMG_2627

We camped on a Bison/Yak Ranch in Bend.

IMG_2655

The Rancher raises all these animals for their meat.  It was very organic and all that good stuff.

IMG_2650

Whaat the ???

IMG_2663

Now that sign makes sense. The Rancher explained that the animal heads were left to be naturally beetlized. (That should be a word)  The skulls apparantly sell well to artists.

IMG_2632

Time for a drink.  Bend has got some really good cideries.  I had to try quite a few to deskullyfie (that should also be a word also).

IMG_2639

This is my ideal ambulance.

IMG_2641

We had a very nice day trip to Newberry National Monument. This place is the Obsidian Mecca. The lovely black shiny stuff has been used for eons as arrowheads and the like.

IMG_2683.jpg

Dean thought he was “the bomb “holding this hunk of pumice.

IMG_2681.jpg

Got ya beat buddy.

IMG_2678

A little loving of green on green .

IMG_2692

Silver Falls State park had a nice 10 mile hike around 10 waterfalls.  Late Spring would be better for flowers and busting out water but it was still very nice.

IMG_2713

We saw waterfalls from  the front and the sides.

IMG_2717

Also behind.

IMG_2718

Nothing like a good waterfall. Unless of course it’s flowers.

IMG_2708

Moving on to Portland and my number one son, Dax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Travel | 12 Comments

Wyoming

Thursday July 19th, 2018

We passed through a corner of Idaho on our way to Wyoming and passed several fields of blooming Rape. That’s quite a bit of cooking oil right there.

IMG_2300.jpg

Jackson Hole was interesting to walk around although the town was jam packed with people wandering around just like us. The central park had Antler Arches on all four corners.  Guess they have a lot of Deer, Elk and Moose out here.

IMG_2306.jpg

We were impressed with the Vertical Harvest attached to the parking garage. This hydroponic farm can produce up to 100,000 pounds of tomatoes, herbs and greens a year.

58ec207b1500002600c78f61.jpg

The carousels rotate to give the plants plenty of light even during the snowy winter.

IMG_2309.jpg

It’s wildflower season at the higher elevations. Yippeee!!

IMG_2332.jpg

We hiked along a spring fed stream and parts of it were dammed up to utilize the power for the little town downstream. The water was so pretty.

 

We followed the stream up….

 

and up…..

 

Finally, the spring birthplace.

 

This good looking butterfly opened his wings for a photo.

 

Dean was anxious to visit Melvin Brewing in Alpine .  Partly because Dean’s big brother is named Melvin but mostly to slurp down the IPA beer.

The hamlet has only 700 residents but this brewery is exporting their beer across the country.

 

They have a top notch brewing facility.

IMG_2373.jpg

Yeah, we got plenty of Melvin to go. The camper is leaning a bit to one side packed with Melvin.

IMG_2378

 

Does this guy look happy? He hit pay dirt enjoying all 4 samplers.

IMG_2376

 

We stayed a week in Teton National Park.  Those peaks just bust up right from the meadows.

IMG_2439

 

No, we did not climb that peak. We had a quick boat trip across Jenny Lake and hiked through a canyon. A very enjoyable 9 mile roundtrip hike although on the way down there were lot more people coming up. I am glad we got an early start.

IMG_3902

We were lucky to see a moose noshing on the greenery. He just ignored us and kept on munching.

IMG_3928

Dean needed a spot to soak his feet and this snow melt stream did the trick.

IMG_2425.jpg

I thought the fence was a great recycling idea.

IMG_2437.jpg

The next day we started out super early and hiked a trail we thought would be about ten miles.  Yikes!! After a 2000ft elevation gain up to 9100ft in first couple of hours we should have figured the trail info might not be too accurate. It was a 14 mile up and down marathon.

However the wild flowers made the whole trip worth it.

IMG_2482

 

Can you see my pack is tiny compared to Deans. I carried the important stuff like my phone, tissues and bug spray.  Dean carried everything else.

The sunflowers were competing with the purple geraniums.

IMG_2465

This monument plant had such pretty petals.

IMG_2471

A smorgasbord of beauty.

IMG_2478

Huge meadows of sunflowers.

IMG_2483

We are getting tired by this time but the flower loveliness kept us going.

IMG_2495

The Teton Range in the background was a lovely backdrop to these flowers.

IMG_2517.jpg

I am in my element.

IMG_2509

We had to have a rest day before moving on but that hike was so worth it. Thank you flowery Wyoming!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Travel | 12 Comments

Westward Ho!

Sunday 1st July  2018

We had a great trip into Canada to visit with our good friends Jan and Tom.  They own their own island near Minaki, Ontario.  We travelled to the island in their zippy speedboat.  Their summer house is fueled by solar panels and propane.

IMG_2161.jpgTom designed and built the spacious gazebo.  It was very enjoyable drinking a cocktail in the evenings while watching the sunsets.

We had fun canoeing about on the nice calm lake.

IMG_2159.jpg

A quick dip in the chilly (freezing) lake was on the agenda.

IMG_2152.jpg

Dean even gave paddle boarding a try with Toms windsurf board.

IMG_2144.jpg

Hot dogs and beer.  Those guys looked pretty happy.

IMG_2167.jpg

A lovely evening on the island.

IMG_2160.jpg

Thanks so much Jan and Tom for a super visit on your little piece of paradise.

img_2139.jpg

We hiked some around Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. Not much to see unless you have a boat.  A pretty butterfly stayed still for a picture.

IMG_2125.jpg

This dragonfly hitched a lift on Deans hat.

IMG_2130.jpg

We moved on to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.  Agghhh that’s more our cup of tea.  Open vistas and views. We had a great day hike of nearly 14 miles.

IMG_2194.jpg

There were plenty of Wheeler Thistles,

IMG_2184.jpg

and Wild Prairie Roses.

IMG_2188.jpg

This Echinacea had a nice tuft of Buffalo hair.  There was a herd of these beasts roaming in the park but we only managed to see their fluffy hair on vegetation.

IMG_2196.jpg

The hills were covered in wild Spurge.

IMG_2207.jpg

The hike took a downward turn when we had to cross a few of these streams.  Up to the calves in squishy mud and water.  We also had some bushwhacking through  burned out areas.

IMG_2220.jpg

Since I was the muddiest I got first dibs on the shower back at the camper.

IMG_2225.jpg

We had picked a nice big batch of wild sage and that sure felt good in a tub of hot water on the old worn out tootsies.

IMG_2226.jpg

It was very handy  spending a few days in Bozeman, Montana.  Our washing machine had conked out in Minnesota and we were able to buy a new Electrolux in Montana with NO SALES TAX.  Thank you Montana.  Of course we all know cock ups happen in threes.

IMG_2296.jpg Next it was the kitchen taps to kick the bucket. Now I have some nice new waterware.

IMG_2297.jpg

And lastly the shower bubble on the roof was leaking but all that took was a big gob of gooey crack filler.

It rained quite a bit but we got lucky on this day with blue skies.  Time for a hike. The hillsides were covered with Larkspur and Balsam Root.

IMG_2256.jpg

We were so happy to hike in the alpine meadows.

IMG_2259.jpg

It was also great to be back to clear snowmelt streams.

IMG_2280.jpg

Moving onto Wyoming tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Travel | 6 Comments

Eastwards and Upwards

Saturday 9th June 2018

Driving through Iowa bought back fond memories for Dean.  He lived in this house in State Center for a few years as a small chil.  His parents owned the large house next door and ran a nursing home in it.  Dean remembered his dad building the wooden steps to the second floor  Looks like he did a good job as they are still standing firm.

IMG_1995.jpg

The library had a wonderful display of baking pans.  All were available for check out.  What a great idea!

IMG_1992.jpg

Moving on to Chicago, we had a lovely visit with Deans baby brother.  Monty and Kathy made us so welcome.  Thanks guys for a great time.

IMG_2027.jpg

A humid heat wave attacked us during our stay so we hardly ventured outdoors. One quick visit to the local park was all we managed. We had forgotten how debilitating high heat plus high humidity can be.

IMG_2016.jpg

IMG_2023.jpg

Our next stop was Madison, Wisconsin. Dean wanted to visit the newly renovated Freedom from Religion building.

IMG_2038.jpg

We had a nice tour of the building including a chat with Charles Darwin.

IMG_2030.jpg

Old Charlie gets around.  Dean had a chat with him last year in Shrewsbury England.

IMG_1619.jpg

As a Vietnam Veteran Dean appreciated this memorial.

IMG_2031.jpg

We made a quick stop at a Mustard Museum. It holds the worlds largest collection of mustards. I enjoyed watching a history of the pungent seed.

IMG_2040.jpg

There was mustard from all across the planet.

IMG_2041.jpg

I should have given them one of my jars.

IMG_0038.jpg

We finally made it to Lake Superior.  This is a nice quiet stretch by Ashland, Wisconsin.

IMG_2046.jpg

Just a bit further up the road the waves were whipping up the red clay sediment.  It didn’t look too appealing for a swim.

IMG_2048.jpg

We enjoyed a couple of days in Duluth, Minnesota. We had to cross the Arial Lift Bridge on our way to our campsite.

IMG_2053.jpg

The whole lower part raises up to allow ships passage through including beasts like this at over 1000 feet long.

IMG_2057.jpg

As we drove further up the coast into the hinterlands of Minnesota, the water became very clear and pretty.  With more than ten percent of the worlds fresh water,  Lake Superior is the largest fresh water lake in the world.

IMG_2061.jpg

We picked up a hitchhiker in Duluth and had to do a radical eviction.

IMG_2065.jpg

A very interesting stop at Grand Portage National Monument.  This was an important Trading Post for the British and the local indigenous population. The main trade was beaver pelts which were sent back to England to be felted and made into fashionable noggin toppers.

IMG_2069.jpg

Much of the local travel was made in birch bark canoes.

IMG_2071.jpgIMG_2077.jpg

It took and hour and a half boat ride to reach Isle Royale National Park. We passed this still working light house.  It was really isolated on the lake.  Back in the day it was a two on two week off for the light house keepers.  Now it’s automated.

IMG_2113.jpg

The highlight of the day trip was this large batch of Marsh Marigold as most of the hiking trails were in the woods with not much to see except trees.

IMG_2097.jpg

These were some real beauties.

IMG_2100.jpg

Next stop is Voyageurs National Park in western Minnesota.

 

 

 

Posted in Travel | 11 Comments

South Dakota

Saturday 19th May, 2018

Our journey took us through Western Nebraska.  The Great Plains were just starting to green up. It was a nice hike up to the top of Scotts Bluff National Monument.

IMG_1851

A cute little Rattlesnake  greeted us on the trail.  He very politely shook his rattles to let us know he was there.

IMG_1845.jpg

You know you’ve been together a long time when you start to look like siblings.

IMG_1868.jpg

There were quite a few hours of relaxing driving through peaceful scenery.

IMG_1881.jpg

Custer State Park in South Dakota is famous for the 1300 to 1400 head of buffalo roaming about freely.

IMG_1894.jpg

This guy is having a nice deep stretch after a nap.

IMG_1911.jpg

Guess who has right of way.

IMG_1920.jpg

Junior was giving us the teenage EYE!!!

IMG_1963.jpg

We took a hike that supposedly paralleled the stream.  I think we waded across that sucker 20 times.

IMG_3831.jpg

Of course we had to stop by Mount Rushmore National Monument.  The carving started in 1927 and was finished in 1941.

IMG_1940.jpg

For my family and friends not in the USA. The old codgers (Presidents) are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln and of course Dean and Rose.  I think we would fit nicely in the granite chunk to the left of George.

IMG_1936.jpg

We had a great time visiting the area in 1991 with our nippers. This is a pic of the Badlands National Park.

Image1-140 copy 5.png

We finished up in Rapid City renewing our drivers licenses.  We are South Dakotans  for another five years.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Travel | 10 Comments

Southern Colorado

Wednesday 2nd May 2018

We have had a great time exploring more Ancient Pueblo areas .  Hovenweep National Monument on the Utah Colorado  border has some awesome structures.

Most of these buildings are from the 800’s

This boulder cracked and the house has mostly toppled off the cliff.

The Ancients did a great job of rounding corners on some structures.

Nobody knows why many of these houses were built on top of rocks.  It was a lot of work moulding around the contours of these irregular boulders.

Where is the elevator?

Mesa Verde National Park is famous for its Cliff Dwellings. Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in the USA  with about 150 rooms.

IMG_1788.jpg

All of these dwellings are tucked under overhangs high up on the cliffs.

IMG_1779.jpg

 

IMG_1797.jpg

Most of the living rooms are very small as social activities took place in the communal areas.

IMG_1787.jpg

Finally a little flower goodness. I saw just a few tiny patches of Balsam Root.

IMG_1815.jpg

I was looking for horns on the head of this Horned Lizard until Dean explained the horns were all over his body. Duh!!!  He stayed nice and still for this picture although he was giving us the evil eye.

IMG_1811.jpg

Our last stop before heading northwards was Great Sand Dunes National Park.  This year we are planning on snagging several more National Parks on our list.

IMG_1825.jpg

These sand dunes are the tallest in the USA with the highest about 750 feet.

IMG_1826.jpg

We hiked a couple of trails around the base of the dunes.  It was very nice until the wind picked up and our legs got sand blasted.  Goodbye Great Sand Dunes.

IMG_1836.jpg

Onwards….

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Travel | 8 Comments

New Mexico

Tuesday 24th April, 2018

We had a good couple of weeks in North West New Mexico.  Many days of single digit humidity and sometimes as low as 4% with elevations of  5000 -7000 ft.  A whole lot of DRY!!!  I was using a lot of coconut oil to help with senior wrinkle factor.

A visit to Tent Rocks National Monument was a great day out.

IMG_1617

A little slot goodness.

IMG_1612

Plenty of curvy turns.

IMG_1622

The sky is such a dark vivid sapphire blue. Gotta love that high elevation, low humidity, low pollution.

IMG_1616

Another day included a delightful 7 mile hike with 3.5  miles on the top of  Dragons Back.

IMG_1633

We had planned on an overnight trip to Chaco Canyon National Historic Park. We arrived with our mini Motorhome, but..

high winds and extra cold weather had moved in so no campfires allowed. It would be a long cold night.  We are old and frail  so we decided a day trip would suffice.

Chaco people began building in this area in the 800’s.  Parts of these  fabulous structures are still here for us to enjoy.

 

I could not imagine climbing up and down those steps hewn into the cliff.

The masonry work was awesome.

The scariest animal we saw was bunnikins.

No flowers but some cute rock formations.

Moving on to southern Colorado and more Ancient Pueblo Culture.

 

 

 

Posted in Travel | 3 Comments