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Social distancing. . .

I am fortunate in many ways. One of them is that the current need for social distancing has not impacted my life all that much—I’m pretty solitary to begin with.

Nonetheless, the knowledge that I can’t travel, must stay home and avoid people, immediately made me want to hit the road. I have womanfully resisted the urge, until today, when I decided a trip to the beach in the van would be ok , since I would still be isolated in my own “home”, and when out, could easily be more than six feet from any other person.

I figured even my favorite walking beach might be unusually crowded, and it was. See all the people?

Look carefully—they’re there. I think I counted ten vehicles in the parking lot, and saw at least seven people on the beach. About what I would expect on a summer weekend.

It was typical spring Oregon beach weather, which means windy. I figure any virus trying to get to me—or anyone else for that matter—didn’t have a chance.

More pictures.

Holed up there out of the wind for a bit. Scamp kept bringing me the remnants of her stick, and I actually managed to get it away from her to throw it a couple of times. It finally got too short for me to risk playing tug any more—she’s not particularly careful about avoiding my fingers, and her jaws are very strong—to her disappointment.

Heading back downwind to the van:

And now I’m here . . .

. . . overlooking my beautiful valley home, creating this post.

Hope this finds you all well, coping, and not overly anxious.

Bastendorf Beach at low tide

We haven’t had a lot of sun lately, but today was our third sunny day in a row, with rain in the forecast for tomorrow, so I decided to go to the beach. I haven’t been to Bastendorf as much as other beaches in the area for a couple of reasons, so decided to head there. And am glad I did. Started by heading toward the cliffs. Continue Reading »

Am headed south on I-5 to California for Christmas. One would thing that winter weather when driving in the winter would not come as a surprise, but today . . . did. For one thing, it was weird.

Usually if there is anything to worry about, it’s over Mount Ashland, but that was dry. No, things got intense south of Weed. First rain, then a little snow mixed with the rain, but nothing to worry about. But a few more miles, and it looked like this.

You can’t see it, but more snow than rain was hitting the windshield at that point.

The temperature dropped as we got lower (DROPPED! THAT IS WEIRD!) and the visibility got worse as the precipitation increased. All this exacerbated by traffic–trucks can throw up a LOT of water spray. I didn’t get too worried until there was slush in the traffic lanes, though.

It never go to the point where snow or even slush accumulated where tires go, though, and eventually the snow stopped, though the rain and winds intensified, with visibility dropping further because of fog (low flying clouds). I did slow down for most of this, though probably not below 40 mph. I pulled off at the rest area at Lakehead to gather my wits and breathe a bit.

Had decided to head for a new CG, and Army Corps CG that Allstays claimed is open all year. It’s not. Got here just after three, to closed and locked gates. I should have known better and checked beforehand, because I’ve run into this at other AC CGs. I need to send feedback to Allstays and prompt them to update their info.

Anyway, I was tired, and it gets dark early at this time of year (winter solstice and all), and there is a nice pullout to park in, so . . . here we are. So far, three other vehicles have come out, but turned around and left (it’s a dead end) without saying boo to me, so I think I’m ok for the night. One of those times when it’s particularly nice to be self-contained.

All three of us–E, J, and me–have memories of being taken to Glacier National Park when we were kids, and it had been on our planned itinerary from the start. We were able to keep it in our revised itinerary, so we headed east on Highway 2 toward Kalispell, where we spent two nights so we could do a day trip in Glacier. The drive over was beautiful, enhanced by seeing blue sky for the first time since Saturday, but I didn’t stop to take pictures.

I stayed in a private CG along the Flathead river that was quite nice. Continue Reading »

(A friend called the big stick that Scamp tackled back at the Clearwater river “The One That Got Away”.)

This is the best stick that Scamp has found since we got back from Idaho. It was at one of our usual walking places–it wasn’t there when we did this walk yesterday. Part of what made it a good stick for her was its size.

She was delighted, and I was delighted with her delight.. She loves big sticks.

She often carries smaller sticks by one end, letting the other drag along the ground. She tried that with this one, but often found the balance point and carried it that way.

I chose to walk out in the road instead of the path bordering the pond, figuring that would make carrying the stick easier for her. With limited success.

She carried is at least a couple hundred yards before letting it go. And then picked it up again on the way back.

She often shakes her sticks–it’s an instinctual movement for killing prey once it’s caught, an instinct that CJ didn’t have. It’s been bed out of retrievers and setters–that’s one reason I always thought CJ had some setter blood in her. Anyway, Scamp tried from time to time to shake this one, but it was big enough it was more like the stick was shaking her. I tried to capture the effect, but am not sure I was successful.

Eventually she again abandoned it, but it had greatly enhanced our afternoon walk. Maybe it will be there again when we go out.

Farragut is a large park, much of it an a natural or at least unimproved state. It would bear another visit, but at a carefully chosen date–there is much evidence of heavy use, because of its proximity to Spokane I assume, and as large as it is, I would prefer to be there along with fewer people. There were a couple of disappointments: while there are extensive trails, they are virtually unmarked, and the park doesn’t have a good map of them for visitors; and they don’t allow dogs down by the water. This seems to be an Idaho thing–dogs were not permitted by the water at Ponderosa either. So no swimming after sticks for Scamp there.

Continue Reading »

Not exactly a snappy title, and reveals how the trip is fading into the past, but I shall persist because I have discovered I like going back and reading old posts about former trips.

Once descended from Hells Canyon, I set out heading north with only vague plans for the next few days. One of my half-brothers and his wife retired a few years ago and moved to Grangeville. He’s the sibling I know the least, but I’ve always enjoyed visits with them*, and was curious about their new place, so that was my first goal. I was also curious to see Grangeville; I hadn’t been there for decades. Suffice it to say it has changed enough that I didn’t recognize a single thing about it.

I eventually managed to find Mike and Debbie’s place. Continue Reading »

I’m trying to get my inner brain out of the notion that if blogging doesn’t happen within a day or two of the events to be blogged, it’s not worth doing. So here goes.

When I left, Sept. 2, heat was the biggest barrier to trip enjoyment. Hard to related to today, as I look out at a wet gray day, but there it is. I had spent hours poring over Allstays (the app I rely on for 90%+ of my camping planning) and weather apps, and had a plan for getting across the eastern Oregon desert in relative comfort. Which was semi-successful.

Continue Reading »

A-a-and new battery is in

And it was almost as fiddly as anticipated.

First, buy your battery. Normally hardly worth mentioning, but this sucker is HEAVY. Happily, when I got to the Napa store and took it out of the car and set it on the curb, an older gentleman (within a few years of my age, probably) offered to carry it into the store. I took him up on the offer, and it turned out to be a win-win I think–I got the battery inside, and he got to feel good about himself, on two counts–proud of himself for being still able to do it, and good for having done a good deed. When I was thanking him afterwards, I said something like “your good deed for the day”, and he agreed–and thanked me 🙂.

Continue Reading »

Ha! Battery is out . . .

And in the car, ready to take down to Napa.

Shows what stubbornness and a bit of cogitation regarding angles and lifting will do.

So the job is 40% done. I don’t know if our local Napa will have the right battery, though I’m hoping, and I honestly expect getting it all back together to be harder than taking it all apart. Though I won’t have to go searching for tools, which will help.

. . . By an “emergency” van project.

Copied from my FB page:

The battery of my van is dead, so I have been educating myself on what to do. It’s never been replaced, so have decided that the obvious thing to do is buy a new one and replace it (it’s eight years old). Should be a simple, routine operation, right? I’ve done it myself at least once on every other vehicle I’ve owned. But no—it is clearly going to be a major pain in the a$$. Starting with getting the old one out.

First, find your battery. Call me oblivious, but I had literally never noticed that I saw no battery when I opened the hood. Turns out the battery is UNDER THE FLOOR UNDER THE DRIVER’S FEET. Just watched a video of someone removing his battery, and is clearly going to be a challenge. Followed, no doubt, by the challenge of installing the new one.

Stay tuned.

Decided to get started today, even though it’s Sunday and couldn’t get the battery today.

Continue Reading »

72 is good

I had the best birthday I’ve had in years this year. It was a peak experience in more than one sense of the term. So I’ll start there.

I knew I’d be on the road for my birthday, which meant spending it alone. Which has happened before and is in general just fine with me, but I did give some thought to making it just a bit special. Didn’t know just where I’d be, and weather and fire changed my vague plans after getting on the road, but it worked out for me to spend two nights in one spot in Hells Canyon, which was one of my goals. Having been born and raised in Idaho and Oregon, I’ve heard/known about Hells Canyon all my life, and my first year of teaching was in a town practically on its border as the crow flies. Nonetheless, I had never been there and knew nothing about its terrain, other than that it’s rugged. So, four days into the rip I headed up (and up and up) to a small campground that turned out to be way nicer than I expected. It got cooler and nicer (and bumpier–about 11 miles of gravel, most of it washboarded) as we climbed. Here are a few pictured from the trip up.

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Scamp swim videos

Scamp is the first dog I’ve owned who is willing to swim.  Indeed, she actually seems to like it. Last August or so, she learned to fetch sticks tossed into the river.  We were aided and abetted by a small group of dogs and their people who go down to the park for the purpose of doing just that. I’ve now collected several videos of Scamp swimming to get sticks, and decided that I’m just going to post them all rather than embed them in the chronological story of my life, such as it is.

Getting video of her getting a stick I’ve tossed into the water is not as easy as it sounds.  I have to remember beforehand that I want some video, so that the phone is out and the camera is on and ready to go.  Then I have to juggle tossing in the stick and remembering to point the camera and start the video recording.  So my first attempts were somewhat lame. Continue Reading »

Just now

So, got to see this guy just now.

First saw a large wing zip across the window, out of the corner of my eye. Grabbed the camera and went to look out the front to see if he’d landed in the tree, and sure enough could see this.

If you look carefully–as I had to–you can see his tailfeathers in the top middle of the picture.

When the wing first zipped past I thought hawk, but few hawks fly into the middle of a tree like this, though some do. So then I thought owl. And then I thought about the cats being out. So I put on a jacket and went outside. I figured either that would scare him off–one for the cats–or not, and I could get a better look and picture–one for me.

The latter is what happened. He stuck around for a couple of pictures.

Scamp came scampering up, and the owl was very interested in her, but I figured she’s a bit large for him to tackle, and the cats were nowhere to be seen, so I relaxed and did some straightening up of outside camp gear. When I next looked up, the owl was gone, no doubt to a quieter perch for the day.

Quickie

Scamp’s stick ambitions are growing. She found this one down by the river. I promised her (well, myself) that if she got it up to the trail (mostly uphill along a narrow trail through tall grass and weeds) I’d take a picture. Here it is. Continue Reading »

Big stick adventures

A few days ago Scamp found this stick.

With which she hopped over this log. Continue Reading »

Watershed moment

It’s a warmish day, so decided to meet up with the dog group who go to the river every day at 2:00 for a session. I was the first one there of the regular group, so I got to watch these guys for awhile.

Continue Reading »

Hopeful metaphor

For us liberals.

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I’ve now recovered, but at the end of May my friend Jane from Canada visited, and while I thought I was doing quite well while she was here, once I dropped her off in Eugene and got back home, I collapsed into slug mode for three days, and then gradually recovered. And only today realized “Hm-m, I did no blogging of any of that. I will regret that in coming years. I have pictures. Let me rectify that situation forthwith.” [Later addendum: it ended up not being forthwith, but at least is now done.]

Continue Reading »

OMG! Scampers indeed

Having our second heat wave this year, so got ready to head to the beach.  Decided to take the bike so I could ride down around the point at Seven Devils.  Also wanted to see if Scamp could keep up and maybe learn to run with the bike as CJ did.

Continue Reading »