Monday, April 07, 2014

Quiet times but warming up

We have been having some quiet times but it is warming up to the point where we can sometimes have the windows open.  Really that time is limited to a couple hours in the afternoon and only if the wind isn't blowing too hard.  The wind really picks up the dust and that's bad for the sinuses as well as just dirty.  I do like hearing the outdoor sounds especially the birds.  I am also reminded that we are near two Air Force bases, a bombing range and a busy commercial airport - all within 75 miles (120km) or so.  There is a surprising amount of air traffic for so quiet a little town.  I'm also convinced that were is some sort of mountain training facility around here; there are just too many flights of military helicopters around.

I did go to Las Vegas again last week.  Just buying a few things that aren't available here (or are too expensive).  It was a nice trip.  I took this photo of the Spring Mountains north of the highway.  These would probably be at the 5-6,000 foot level (1,500-1,800m).
Once we get over the pass I make a turn and go towards Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.  Apparently it is renowned as a climbing venue.  Personally I like nice flat areas, the view of a vertical section of rock does not call to me.  It is however very beautiful.
These are identified as 'bluffs'; looks like a mountain to me but I'm no geologist.  The valley is a mile or two wide at this point.  You are driving along the east side of the valley looking across at these 'bluffs' and suddenly you come to a sign that identifies this as a Nevada Scenic Highway.  What?  What about the past couple miles?  I mean the whole thing is only 12-15 miles.  But I guess Nevada Dept. of Transportation has some weird rule.  They do the same thing with bike lanes.  All of a sudden, out in the middle of nowhere you find a sign saying 'Bike Lane'.  How the hell are you supposed to get out there with the bike?  Jeez. 

Anyway, now that I've had my little rant, I finally come to the conservation area itself.  This is from the overlook; taking the loop road gets you up close to the cliffs but I wasn't really there to do the tourist thing so settled for the overlook.  The cliffs are 3-4 miles (4-6km) away from this point.
It really is quite striking and for scenery when you are just going into town for a few items it is quite lovely.  It makes the drive quite pleasant. 

That was the big trip of the month so far.  More to come later.  Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

OMG - almost a month!

Well, I'm falling off the blogging trail again.  Sorry about that.  The good news is that we've been having fun.  We took our first plane trip together since something like 2002.  It was a trip up to Seattle for a relative's birthday.  Interesting trip what with one thing and another.  The first thing was that we agreed to make it a computer-free trip.  That was a first!  I guess it was successful; neither of us missed our little electronic friend too much.  Then our flight was on a Delta affiliate - that is a term for someone with really small planes painting them to look like a Delta plane and using Delta's gangways.  We are carry-on folks and have never had a problem but this time my wife's roll-along was deemed too large and was put into the hold at the gangway!  It was a minor inconvience but still.  I have to admit though that my smaller bag pretty much filled the overhead compartment.  It was two and two seating; glad we are friends!  Walking down the aisle pretty much introduced you to everyone else in the plane.  Still, it got us there & back so that's the important thing.  There was a 5 minute delay or so to retrieve the bag from the hold on each end. 

We lived in and around Seattle back in the 1970's and 80's but haven't visited the city itself in a very long time.  God, what a mess!  Seattle is built on a narrow strip of land between the Sound and Lake Washington.  It and it's suburbs make for a long skinny metro area so I-5 going north & south gets lots of traffic.  I mean 30 mph stop and go crap in the middle of the day.  I can hardly imagine the rush hour.  We were in the two person HOV lane so generally got to do the the 30 mph; those other poor folks were doing more of the stop and go. 

We had a day before we had to go out to the party so hit the waterfront.  The seagulls are still pretty noisy!
After that excitement, what can you say?  We walked around a bit and called it a day.  The next day we went over to the peninsula for the party.  You'll have to take my word for it that our relative who lives near Gig Harbor has a nice view of Mt. Rainier.  This was Washington sunshine at it's best.
After the party we wandered up towards Sequim, WA on the Olympic Peninsula.  Squim is considered the 'banana belt' of Western Washington.  Somehow it is in the 'rain shadow' of the mountains so gets less rain and more sun than most places.  Sure enough, we did get to see the Olympics though there was some cloud around.

We stayed in a small motel outside of town.  In the season I'm sure they do a good business but mid-week in March; not so much!  They probably have 100 rooms, I think there were three other people staying while we were there.  The people running the place have a delightful sense of humor though.  They gathered some little pieces of driftwook and placed them on posts along the driveway.  I thought they were really cool.
It was good to get home I must say.  The cat took about 24 hours to decide to like us again.  Now I can't get him off my lap!  Will we go flying off and leave him again?  Certainly!  But not right away.  We still really like traveling in our trailer but heading up to snow country in March we thought might be difficult.  As it turned out, it would have been fine.  The weather was rainy but mild.  We wouldn't have seen Seattle though and that was fun. 

There is another trip planned in our future but I'll talk about that more after it happens.  It will be another flight and another computer-free trip.  Should be interesting!  Take care & thanks for stopping by.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Another week...

Well, I haven't been gone for multiple weeks anyway!  We had a nice time in San Diego.  Number One Son & his SO have bought a house and we got to help them move in .  They are pretty private, even with us, so we just got to move some of the larger pieces.  Still, it was fun.  I think they were kind of surprised that a couple old fogies like us could actually lift furniture.  I remember helping move friends back in the 1980's; we did sometimes find 'marital secrets' like sex toys & lubes.  Nothing really all that nasty, just a bit embarrassing for the couple. 

Got back home last Sunday and have been cooling it since then.  Went into Las Vegas for our usual liquor and Sam's Club run on Thursday.  Got a free lunch at Number One Daughter's house.  She is actually learning to cook!  We had a nice lunch of chicken and roasted vegies.  I think I had three helpings of the vegies!  Then we managed to find the only rude employee of Total Wine and the world's slowest checkout person but otherwise it was ok.  She even managed to use the PLU codes from my phone to get us a couple of discounts.  Coming home it was pretty windy and I was getting sleepy but we managed it.

Now we are getting the Nevada version of a rain storm; a few drops on the concrete and plenty of wind.  It's not very exciting but what can I say?  Maybe we'll get some real rain next year.  Snow, nah, it's for the East Coast and the Canadian's out there.  LOL  Do you know, we actually have to have federal flood insurance here?  Yep, another instance of our wonderful government taking care of us - or at least making us pay to take care of ourselves!  This is considered to be part of the Mohave Desert after all.  Maybe there is something kind of screwy logic there but that's for the really 'smart' people to discover.  On the other side of the coin, I will say that since I've gone onto Medicare we are saving $600 a MONTH from what we were paying for my wife's company supported health insurance policy.  Hmmm, nothing wrong with that!

Gotta go.  Thanks for stopping by & hope you have a great day.

Friday, February 21, 2014

I just don't know!

The title of this post should be either "On the Road Again" or "I've fallen off the blogging wagon and can't get up".  Because we are kind of on the road but I sure haven't been blogging!  Anyway, here's the scoop.

We put a new closet system in our master bedroom closet but first, of course, we had to paint the room.  It was a giant pain!  So then we install this closet; we like the style we chose because you mount a bar thing on the wall and hang everything off it.  This way nothing is touching the floor & you can easily vacuum under it.  So now the attached bathroom and toilet room look kind of dull.....  You can see where this is going of course.  Our house has 10 foot ceilings (> 3m) so there is lots of climbing around on ladders, even on the counters!  It's enough to make me want an ibuprofen just writing about it.  Here is proof that I actually can work!

Of course this would also be the ideal time to replace the lights in the bathroom which we have never liked.  We go into Home Depot where we have looked at the lights many times.  This time however we come to a stop in front of one and say, almost in unison, 'I kind of like that one'.  So now we have added a little electrical work to the project.  Grrr!  Among the three fixtures we replaced one was wired incorrectly and another is slightly different.  Hmmm, same manufacturer, same SKU, different light; this is just depressing.  However we pressed on; put the odd light where it is alone on the wall.  I doubt any but someone with OCD would ever notice.  The wiring was no big deal but in killing the breaker we discovered that the bathroom lights are on the same breaker with 1) the other bath room on the other side of the house, 2) the garage, 3) the outside lights and 4) both spare bedrooms.  Our neighbor insists the guy who wired the house was very good but I'm holding out for weird.  We did finally get the room put back together a week ago yesterday. 

A week ago today we pulled the trailer out of it's storage area and up to the house where we could load it.  By Sunday morning we were headed out for San Diego where Number One Son lives.  He and his SO have just bought their first house and we were overdue for a trip here anyway.  So we've been doing the sightseeing thing interspersed with seeing the house and helping them move.  Yes, that calls for more ibuprofen!  The good news is that they found a nice little house in a pretty good neighborhood. It is badly in need of new paint but otherwise quite nice.  Owning it should be a great way for them to help the local economy; at least the home fix-up part of the economy.

It hasn't been all work though; this park is way expensive but this is the view out of our rig.  We get to look at ducks here; not so many sparrows or finches.
And we've been sightseeing.  We finally got to see the mission.  The original mission is kind of off the tourist loop.  It is called Mission San Diego de Alcala.  It is no where near any other tourist attractions so just gets missed.  Too bad because it is nicely restored and quite a lovely place.  Here is the front of the church.
The mission included much more than the church but, of course, that's the point of the place.  It is hardly the original building.  The first was destroyed by an attack in 1775.  The second was destroyed by earthquakes in the early 1800's.  By the 1920's there wasn't a lot left but it's been rebuilt again and again.  In 1976 Pope Paul VI declared it a minor basilica.  This is the interior today.
Quite plain but also very nice.  I think it would be a great place to spend some time in contemplation.  Our next move is to spend some time relaxing then heading home on Sunday.  We might even visit the zoo! 

Thanks for checking in.  Have a good one.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Dull, dull, dull

I find it's been quite a while since blogging; well, I just don't have much to say! There are a couple blogs I read where the writer is sure 'the end is nigh'.  Well, I don't agree with that but can't really refute it either.  I'm more of a 'one foot in front of the other' kind of guy; I just keep showing up and things happen.  Some are good things; some bad but it keeps keeping on. 

I've been keeping up with my plan to photograph the mountains behind our house daily.  It's only been a month or so but it's a start.  I'm really looking forward to the summer to see how the shadows are different in the different seasons.  We are planning on some travel in the next couple months but then will spend most of  the summer here.  It will be a little different but should be good.  These days if we want to walk we wait for mid-afternoon; in summer it's get it in by 06:00 or you are toast.  (Almost literally!) 

I bought a couple of those foldable bikes for our travels.  These are cheapies from Camping World.  If we actually use them we might trade up to a better quality model.  It's really funny riding on this thing with 20" wheels.  I feel like a bear in the circus when riding mine.  At first we had a little trouble with cinching everything up tight enough but finally got them going.  It's really disconcerting when you are peddling along and your seat starts sliding down!  Happily we don't have much traffic so get to just stop in the middle of the road to fix things. 

Anyway, I hope it isn't too miserable where you are.  It's an odd winter for sure.  Take care.  Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Headed to Vegas again....

Our little town is fun but I do miss some of the excitement of a city.  So I'm off to the big city again.  The last time I was there I actually drove a bit on the strip; now that's downright painful!  The traffic is stopped for long periods and there is always one or two tourists who think they can cross between the cars.  Vegas has LOTS of pedistrians killed every year because they are too damn dumb to use crosswalks and pay attention to the 'Walk' lights.  Yeah they have been drinking, usually the driver is just a victim too.

We've been having some great weather lately.  We are actually in the 70's!  (21C for the rest of the world.)  It helps us to get out and exercise when it's so great.  We are about 15 degrees (F) (8C) above average.  Tough life, huh.  All this mean that our tomato plants are really confused.  They are still producing tomatoes!  Weird stuff. 

I'm working on a minor photographic project:  I'm taking a photo or two of the Nopah Mountains every morning.  I'm hoping to create a photographic montage of the way the sun hits the mountain differently in different seasons.  Here is my subject.
We'll see how it works out.  Gotta go.  Have a good one!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Movie night!

I've been on a kick lately about finding 'different' movies at our local library.  Apparently the person in charge of buying movies has, let's call it, electic taste.  Happily, that fits in with my taste quite well. 

Recently I watched a new version of Much Ado About Nothing - done by Joss Whedon in 2012. 
Whedon got some publicity from the fact that it was filmed in his own home in, I think, 12 days.  Clearly then it was in present day California.  It was flimed in black and white which might put some people off but I'm more interested in the actual movie.  I really liked it.  Of course I like the Kenneth Branagh version but they are really very different.  This one felt more approachable but wasn't as pretty.  I mean a house in LA vs the Tuscan countryside?  The actors also were from a different strata:  Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Clark Gregg  vs Emma Thompson, Branagh and Richard Briers and the smaller rolls portrayed by the likes of Keanu Reeves, Denzel Washington and Kate Beckinsale.  Very different indeed but each very good.

Then yesterday I found 'A Day Without A Mexican'.  It's a fantasy piece about a mysterious fog that surrounds California and makes all Hispanics disappear and all communication with the rest of the world ceases. 
It had promise but got really bogged down in the story about people who were downright dull.  There was a white woman whose Mexican husband and son disappeared, she never shed a tear.  (She did however reveal to the neighbor the reason her daughter was still around was because she was actually his child.)  The Senator whose maid disppeared (cover shot), his big problem was that he had no orange juice but he got to be acting-Govenor because the real guy had disappeared.  They were just people I didn't care about.  One Hispanic woman newscaster was supposed to have been spared; of course you know she can't be Hispanic regardless of her 'parents'.  One slightly funny part was where the handsome Hispanic weather forecaster is replaced with an older fat white guy who has no outside data or training in forecasting.  Interspersed there would be supposed facts about the importants of Hispanics in California.  I say 'supposed facts' because I hope they were true but really don't know and certainly don't remember them.  Things like 57% of firefighters were Hispanic or 35% of teachers - those aren't the numbers, I just made them up but you get the idea.  The actors were doing their best but it was all about the importance of Hispanics in today's California.  Gee, really?  I never would have guessed.  (You ought to check out my little town!)  Eventually, of course, the fog lifted and the Hispanics all magically reappeared not knowing that they had even been gone.

Anyway, I thank my local librarian for the fun films.  Hope you have a great day!