Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Roadtrip Day 019

Roadtrip Day 019

7/27 Monday

The morning started with a pinecone bombardment by a busy squirrel who dropped a bunch on and around us in the early morning. Amusing after finding out what it was, odd and disturbing until we did. Thump. Thump, thump. Thumpittythump. What?

Monday is wash day, so we went to the Hungry Horse Laundrymat [sic] and cleaned everything, including sheets. Fresh sheets tonight! We also started the day by washing ourselves in our jury-rigged sit-bath with hot water from the stove. It ain’t the Jacuzzi tub but it’s infinitely better than being dirty. It should also be red beans and rice day, but, sadly, that ain’t gonna happen. It’s midday now and we’re at the Glacier Visitors’ Center seeking some wifi and internet service. Gonna get online and check in with the world. And upload some posts.

No net connection, of course. Bah, humbug, We’ll hang around a while and see what happens. Maybe they’ll get it cleared up soon. Had some rain off and on travelling between Glacier and Hungry Horse and back.

Sated my lunchtime hunger with a sandwich of top sirloin and sharp cheddar. Thought about the Tim’s jalapeno chips but decided against. Sammie was sufficient, going down with a nice, cold Coke.

Hiked the short loop trial “Trail of the Cedars” for a peaceful, sweet little stroll among majestic growths. Settling into the early evening now with some generator time to charge electronics.

It stayed cool all day and kept chilling down, so in the evening we started our propane heater. Very nice. Cozy in a flash. Decided on boneless pan-fried pork chops, buttery rice, and salad for dinner and that hit the spot. Now, with dishes done, sitting here updating this, it’s raining significantly while I have a coupla wafer cookies for dessert. Wow! Rain increasing to serious. I like the sound of it beating on our roof. We’re nice and dry.. I feel bad for the tent campers.

Roadtrip Day 018

Roadtrip Day 018

7/26 Sunday

We woke, prepped, and hit the trail to Avalanche Lake, 4 miles roundtrip and elevation gain of about 500 ft. After some rain during the night, the day started out overcast and even spit on us a little as we hiked. Very beautiful, scenic hike. Climbing up along the river with craggy escarpments and peaks in the distance and deep, lovely woods around us.

Busy trail. Lots and lots of folks on it. We made it to the lake and went all the way to the head. Cold wind there blowing at us unobstructed across the lake. On the way down, Ronnie and I got separated, which made for a confusing time before we met up again finally at the trailhead.

Lunch and a rest after that.

An hour of generator time to recharge electronics and now I’m composing this before we have some supper.

Gonna sleep well tonight.

Roadtrip Day 017

Roadtrip Day 017

7/25 Saturday

Overcast today. An interesting change. Tea for two then into the car to see what we can see/do at Glacier and accomplish some “town” tasks – wifi, grocery, etc.

Well, today turned out to be busy and interesting. Occasional rain showers kept things cool. When we got to Glacier there were openings at a couple of campgrounds; so we took advantage of that and found a sport at Avalanche campground. Rain and fire were good for us, in some ways. Of course, that necessitated breaking camp where we were, hitching up, driving to Glacier, and setting up. But we are now settled in Glacier itself. We sneaked in a grocery trip during that rigamarole (makin’ groceries for my Noo Awlins folks) and once we got settled at Glacier, we had some tasty top sirloins from the grill with pasta and sautéed mushrooms. Capped the day off right.

Tomorrow, we can start hitting some of the lovely hikes here on the West side, and simply return to our lovely in-Glacier campsite. Just driving from the entrance to the campsite was lovely, with striking vistas. Looking forward to spending some hiking and exploring time here.

Maybe I’ll get some inspiration for things for my legionaries to do/face/experience.

Roadtrip Day 016

Roadtrip Day 016

7/24 Friday

A lovely, lazy day. Perfect weather. We read. We ate. We went down to the beach. Ronnie go in the water. I watched. We read. We ate. We read. Now, I might write a little before bed.

Just what are those legionaries up to?

Roadtrip Day 015

Roadtrip Day 015

Our first rain of the trip, a tiny, short shower in the wee hours of the morning. All dry and “normal” by 9:00am (Mountain Time, 8 am to my biology for a while until I zone in) as we have our breakfast tea with dueling laptops. Ronnie also had some Sugar Pops, I mean, Kellogg’s Corn Pops; I was happy with just tea this morning. The early sun filtering through the majestic pines is lovely with that natural cathedral type light. Chiaroscuro on the ground cover and shrubs.

We’re planning on having a lazy day today. Yesterday was a long drive; and the drive up the reservoir road was especially enervating, exacerbated by the frustration of the closure in Glacier and failing to find a campsite easily. We’ll see how that goes.

Black squirrels must be from New York city – frantically rushing about in squirrelish frenzy. Ronnie just saw a bunny, too. I missed it because I was writing this. (grin)

Spent some time in the afternoon sitting in a camp chair on the beach while Ronnie got wet. Hot in the campground, cool at the beach with a steady breeze up the reservoir.

Literary milestone last night before bed. I finished the second, and major, fight scene between the legionaries and the night hunters. I hope people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it. It was pretty exciting for me to describe it “as it happened.” I felt the action and I hope I conveyed that at least a little in my prose. An additional milestone is that I broke 30K words by the end of that melee. Hooray for me! Maybe I’ll go back to that sex, errr, *love* scene chapter and finish that now. That’d be an amusing contrast. Maybe I’ll work on that sometime today or tonight.


Roadtrip Day 014

Roadtrip Day 014

We woke and broke camp to head for Glacier. A full day of driving but it was all scenic highway and beautiful vistas. As we progressed into the day, we lost an hour changing time zones and we heard that Glacier had a big fire on the East side and that the beautiful Going-to-the-Sun Road was closed.

Well, damn.

We went all the way up to the park entrance anyway, hoping for better news and maybe an open campsite since there are several campgrounds on the West side which was still open. No such luck. All campgrounds full and the road definitely closed beyond a certain point. Ok, time to backtrack to Hwy. 2 and find ourselves a spot at one of several campgrounds along Hungry Horse Reservoir just a few miles West of Glacier. Narrow, wiggly road. Impressive dam. Miles in and the first campground is full. More miles and so is the second. A third is supposed to be bigger. More miles – it’s closed. MORE miles and we arrived at the Lid Creek campground. At the entrance, the host asks, “Reservations?”


“No,” we admit.

“I have ONE spot…”

“We’ll take it!” we interrupted.

So here we are at Lid Creek campground wayyyyyy up the Hungry Horse Reservoir; but we have a spot and we’re settled in. W00t! We can review our Glacier N.P. info and decide on maybe a coupla hikes here on the West side and maybe in a coupla days, the GttS Road will reopen. Meanwhile, it’s actually quite pretty here. Piney woods and a LARGE lake. Black squirrels. A bit of a moon tonight, too.

On the literary(ish) side of things, after 3K words describing the action, my legionaries have fended off the first attack of the night creatures without serious injuries; but now they’re about to face the second attack, which will be more intense and sophisticated. I’m worried for them.

Roadtrip Day 013

Roadtrip Day 013

7/21 Tuesday

Gillette Campground evokes Bob Dylan’s line “workin’ in the great North Woods for a spell.” Deep and quiet, lots of space between individual trees. Much sparser than our dense Cascade forests. We needn’t have feared being too hot last night. It chilled down enough to make us want a second quilt. Brrrr. Nice, compared to the heat of the day but waking up freezing in the dark is unpleasant. We covered up and snuggled up and made it back to sleep.

It’s now almost ten. We had a lazy wakeup of tea and sweet rolls, sitting outside in our camp chairs in the embrace of the forest. The night chill is gone and it’s perfect in shorts and a T-shirt. This campground is sparsely occupied. Our nearest neighbors are a couple of spaces over – about 50 yards – a happy young family with two small girls who seem to be natural explorers. They’re here with their boat and watertoys for some big lake fun.

Our plan (always subject to change, aka whim) is to leave tomorrow and head to Glacier National Park to find camping on the West side and stay a while, exploring the park by car and foot, lotsa great hikes at Glacier. Either that or we’ll head North and enter Canada. Then, we’ll cruise to the Canadian version of that Park, Waterton, and from Waterton, come down to Glacier on its East side. Both plans sound pleasant. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, it’s a planned quiet day here. I intend to work on and complete the current fight scene for my legionaries and their mysterious attackers. Damn! I hope all the legionaries survive this battle. There are so few of them already. (grin)

Sweet. As we sat here typing, me drinking a nice glass of cold Ovaltine, two deer came down from the hills behind us and started grazing not 50 yards from our campsite. Spotted coats, so young(?) to my deer-ignorant perception. No bears seen, however, despite the strident warnings around the campsite about bear-proofing EVERYTHING.

Our campsite at Ida Creek featured the beautiful white noise of the river. It was a constant background. Here at Gillette, it’s the silence which is notable. The other campers have headed to the lake and Ronnie and I are left here in the very quiet woods.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s update when we all find out what Ronnie and Frank are doing. Maybe the legionaries, too. That is, we’ll find out what the legionaries are doing, not that they’ll find out what Ronnie and Frank are doing. I mean, c’mon!, they’re fictional characters. (wink)

Noon update. The deer were indeed fawns. Their mom just showed up and they’re both nursing. Sweet.

We took a little hike at dusk and saw a single white-tail deer as we started and a pair on the way back. Lovely. We’re settling down now. Dinner and some prep for a morning departure tomorrow. Significantly quiet with only the campground host in residence here besides us.


Roadtrip Day 012

Roadtrip Day 012


Checked out of the motel by noon and headed up the road to the Colville area. Safeway stop at Colville, then into the wilderness to Gilette Campground at Gilette Lake. Woodsy and quiet. Hot today but we were mostly in the airconditioned car. Until it was time to set up camp. We took our time and it wasn’t too bad. Cool now, with the sun going down. Lazy leftovers for dinner and an early bedtime.

Datzawl for today.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Roadtrip Day 011

We slept pretty hard last night after our very tiring day hiking. We gave ourselves latitude on whether we’d pack up and move or stay another night after a totally low-energy day. After breakfast, Ronnie just kinda got moving; so we packed and collapsed and hitched up and hit the road. Followed Hwy.2 all the way to Spokane. The Columbia was pretty, not much other scenery. Did a little shopping at the Spokane REI then checked into the Motel6. LONG, HOT showers, Hooray, Unlimited internet time. Hooray. Now lots of sleep. Hooray.

Roadtrip Day 010

Most of the campgrounds along Icicle Creek Road mention that there is a two-car limit per campsite. There are group campsites available for larger groups. A sufficiency of them, IMO. Nonetheless, on Friday evening the campsite next to us started piling up cars as the afternoon wore into evening. At least a half-dozen by dark. Multi-generational loud and drunk. Loud and drunk waaaaaay past midnight, when it is *definitely* a rule for quiet from 10pm to 8am. Possibly the rudest group I’ve ever camped next to. College kids playing loud dance music would have been less annoying.

Fuckers. It’s now 9pm on Saturday and they’re all in town. Probably drinking. Gosh!, I can’t wait until they get back to camp after a big Saturday night in Leavenworth.

Fuckers. We did not sleep well.

On the good news side of today, we planned and did the Eight-mile Lake trail. The road to the trailhead is absolute shit for most of its length, so we crawled up at low speed. At the trailhead we signed in and started up. The actual trail is only about 6.6 miles roundtrip, not a full 8. We were happy to cross one nice SHADED stream on the way up and a smaller lake beyond that but before Eight-mile Lake itself. Those were nice rest stops.

Eight-mile Lake itself is very lovely, if a bit buggy. We were delighted to make it all the way there and we sat and had a lovely lunch. Ronnie, native that she is, got in the lake – a bit. Eventually, we started back down.

On the way up, Ronnie had carried our daypack and I carried the camelback. On the way down, we switched. The afternoon sun was blazing and, while uphill is more tiring, downhill is harder on my knees. After about a mile, Ronnie took the daypack from me.

Thank you, baby!

We took several rests on the way back, one especially nice one at the shaded stream, where I stretched out fully on a log and had a fully-prone rest for a full ten minutes. Heaven. After that, we rolled on back to the trailhead and parking lot. Phew.

Honestly, that hike was just a bit too much for us, given our relative condition and conditioning. But it was very beautiful. Five miles would have been ok. The extra mile and a half in the heat pushed it beyond our comfort zone. But it was beautiful. (grin)

We ran the airconditioner in the car all the way back to our campsite. It felt like paradise. Back at camp, we lumbered down to the river and soaked our feet and knees in the cold water and washed much of the trail dirt off the rest of our weary bodies. After that, we rested. Significantly.

Eventually, we roused sufficiently to boil some potatoes and BBQ some pork chops. Ate that, put away the leftovers, and now I’m writing this. Too tired to work on my legionary novel. Bed as soon as I’m done with this post.

Done. (wink)

Roadtrip Day 009

We declared today a “make and mend” day. We had two significant tasks facing us as well as the usual assortment of ordinary stuff. One was to repair/replace the velcro for the skirt to our screenroom to complete its lower perimeter on the trailer side. Some was coming unglued and some of the skirt was just funky. We needed to fiddle with it to get it all sorted out and attach some new velcro strips to the damaged portions. As it turned out, that took a little time and it may be creative rather than exactly how it was designed but it’s functional.

The scarier task was our onboard water tank. We filled it at home but it leaked completely dry by the next time we checked. We dedicated some time to investigate how and why it was leaking and see if it might be an easy/moderate fix or if we needed to buy and install a replacement tank or assorted tubing, pumps, and whatnot. Carefully adding some water to the tank, we saw no leakage. We added some more. No leakage. Some more. No leakage. There was enough in there to flow to the pump so I activated it. There ya go. A leak at the attachment point from the tank to the waterpump.

Diagnosis complete. Now howzabout repair? Why is that coupling leaking? I got my near-vision glasses out of my bag and eyeballed the assembly. Was it merely a disconnected connection? Yes, it seemed to be so. I corrected that and we tried the pump again. No leaking. W00t! More water in the tank and definitely no leaks from the tank itself. Open the faucet at the sink and let that pump work. Yep. Nice flow of water with no leak from the previously-failed connector. Ha!


Houston, we have pressurized water. No tiger-teams necessary; we fixed it ourselves.

Finished some other minor stuff then we ambled to the river for some nature and cool (COLD!) water fun. Back from the river to have a delicious glass of cold Ovaltine and finish a novel I had on my kindle. Easing into the evening writing this blogpost.

Got my legionaries to the point where they’re facing their second night attack by the mysterious creatures. Creatures are at the cavern mouth and about to attack. So now I’ll sleep and work out the fight specifics tomorrow.

Planning to hike to Eight-mile Lake tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Roadtrip Day 008

Roadtrip Day 008

8:00 am breakfast. It’s supposed to be cold(er) tonight. Last night was warmer than usual, although still cool and refreshing. The moonless sky has been so deeply black I don’t even resent having to get up to pee. Mostly. I stand there watering the bushes and look up at the blazing multicolored jewels of the stars and feel magnificent. And sleepy and chilly but my cozy bed and warm wife are waiting, saving my place.

Writing that reminds me that my legionaries are not in the same nighttime boat that I am; they’re thinking they’re destined to go sailing in Charon’s boat to eternal night. They are currently (in my writing) about to be attacked by the night creatures, which tested them the night before, which may (or may not) be vampires or something very like those fearsome nightstalkers. Preparing to meet the creatures’ attack, the legionaries are emptying their bladders to be ready to fight, but at least one of them is too scared to even pee. Bwahahaha! Poor bastards. We’ll see how they fare against possibly preternatural foes when I get back to writing later. Luckily for the legionaries, they’re in a cavern 40 feet above the ground with an opening only wide enough for two people, so the creatures will be restricted in their ability to attack. I’m conceptualizing an exciting fight scene which my friends in the Facebook Writers’ Group should appreciate. (wink)

I’m still writing NaNoWriMo style, i.e. just get it written without thinking too much, no editing, no going back. It’s good for making me move along, but when I go back to a previous chapter to check on an event or character, I always want to rewrite *that* paragraph or change *that* adjective. Maybe if I actually finish the thing, there’ll be an editing pass. Or two.

We’re planning to hike the Chatter Creek Trail today after breakfast. More on that after we do it.

Rigby news from yesterday was good, so we’ve pretty much decided that she is truly happier at home and we’re preparing to move on without her. We mildly decided to stay here through Saturday night then on Sunday head up to the Colville area for a bit before pressing on to Glacier NP, maybe Waterton, then Glacier. We like Canada. I’ve never been to Waterton.

Back from the Chatter Creek Trail. Had lunch at a wonderful water staircase. It wasn’t really a “fall”. The first part of the trail is a moderate grade but after the water staircase, it gets steeper. Phew. Met three older men and their dog, Finnegan, hiking. Finnegan belonged to Frank, an Irishman. We had a little chat about Ireland, and he said he used to play rugby with a tough lad from Achill Island, home of some of my Irish ancestors. Cool.

Some afternoon housekeeping-type chores and a little generator time to charge our electronics and support my writing – and Ronnie’s! – as we move into the deep afternoon. We’re glad we decide to buy the genny, a 2kW Yamaha. It’s very quiet and parsimonious on gas and easily supplies all our electrical needs.

I was going to stop this post there but dinner was so tasty I gotta add it to the narrative. Delicious New York steak on the BBQ, Basmati rice, perfect corn on the cob, and a nice mixed salad. Yum! Now I need a digestion nap before bedtime.


Roadtrip Day 007

Roadtrip Day 007

Woke early to attack some real-world stuff in town (Leavenworth). Started the day with wifi at Starbucks. After that, we spent an exhausting morning of crapola. To recuperate from that, we had cheap lunch at McDonalds. Picked a bad time –noisy busy. Eventually it calmed down a bit so I could have a phone conversation with Chloe who’s designing a world/planet from scratch. And that “scratch” almost fits the Carl Sagan scratch-apple-pie joke of “first you create the universe.” We talked about stellar formation, accretion disks, the Goldilocks zone, moon(s) vs. no moon(s), especially given the uniqueness of our earth-moon combo as essentially a binary system rather than a planet with a “moon.” Then we managed to drill down to discussing molten core and mantle, plate tectonics, ocean currents, atmospheric currents, and I forget what-all.

Just a casual camping conversation.

News from home, aside from planetary construction, is that Rigby seems happy and content. More on that later. Also, Logan McBroom, unschooler of the girls’ generation, is visiting and staying with the kids. We saw him briefly when we stopped at the house yesterday to drop Rigby off.

After lunch and planet building, we hit the hardware store for a few things, then finally a food trip to Safeway. Back to our campsite with a stop along the way to check out details of some of the many hikes which have trailheads along Icicle Creek Road. Hot, hot, hot in town but still refreshing this far up the canyon. Nice to get back to camp.

Back at camp, we put away groceries and sundries and powered up the generator to charge all our electrical devices, including keeping the trailer battery topped up. Sitting at the table now on my charging laptop composing this before we sit with the atlas and decide when and where to go next.

Thinking about my kenshi at kendo tonight. Have fun, y’all. Maybe I’ll put on my bogu and do some practice swings and drills.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Roadtrip: Day 006

Roadtrip: Day 006

Sad night’s sleep without Ribgy and a low-key breakfast. Another perfect day. We decided to do the Icicle Loop Trail, a 4-mile hike. Ranger miles, of course, which are about ½ or twice human miles, depending on your perspective. (wink) Ronnie’s fitbit said it was 13.5K steps and we took 3.5 hours. We had a wonderful lunch stop and our unhurried pace made it a beautiful hike. Portions of it in the sun with that lovely hot woodsy smell, portions in the shade with the cooling breeze from the water and that lovely water-forest smell.


Lunch was PB&Js and water from the camelback. I still dislike that stuff. Maybe I’ll start filling one camelback with lemonade or something. We shared a bit of our sandwiches with a curious chipmunk who kept coming back for more.

Now we’re back at our campsite, relaxing and recuperating. Ronnie is sitting with her feet in the river. I’m in the tent trailer writing this while drinking a nice, cold Coke. Serendipitously, my Coke says “Share a Coke with - *an Adventurer*”. Really!

Ha! Ok, I will.

Ronnie came to fetch me down to the water. It felt really nice to sit on the big log and hang my feet and shins in the cool water. Ronnie had crossed the river and come back and built a cairn on the log, which we unfortunately toppled when we sat down. The cairn, not the huge log. Art is ephemeral.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in our camp chairs in the screen room. I read “The Odyssey” on my kindle as we lazed into the evening. When we had net access yesterday, I downloaded a half-dozen new novels from the library for evening entertainment. Ronnie took the leftover steak and noodles and sauteed them with some fresh green onions in butter and Tony’s for a tasty supper. Now, we’ve moved into the tent trailer and I’m finishing this at the table as Apollo seeks his rest beyond the Western horizon.

As we will, too, before long.

Meanwhile, in 52 B.C.E. my legionaries are in their first day after the devastating battle with the barbarians in what we now know as the Hindu Kush and are awaiting the return of said barbarian horde to finish them off. O tempora, o mores, o plot complications don’t fail me now.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Roadtrip: Day 005

Roadtrip: Day 005

A lovely, full night’s sleep and Rigby stayed in bed with us most of the night. Vast improvement in her comfort level. Rosy-fingered dawn was a while ago and now at 9:30 we’re having breakfast. Apple turnovers and hot tea, sugar and lemon in mine, thanks.

Thinking about making today an official lazy day. We’ll see how we feel after breakfast.

Last night I ate a Granny Smith apple but didn’t finish it. I cut up the leftover apple into small chuncks and put it on our picnic table for the chipmunks. Have I failed to mention the chipmunks? A veritable herd of them scurrying about in Babylonian frenzy. They sometimes manage to sneak into our tentroom and are very noisy as they scrabble around. When we exit the trailer to shoo them out, they scrabble like mad to find the opening they used to get in. Amusing, in the abstract. Sometimes, they’re so noisy, they scare Rigby. Sometimes she stares at them, Hungrily, in my imagination.

I spent a little time after breakfast composing one of my Katrina 10th anniversary posts for the series I’m doing on that.

We took an uphill hike on a small, unmarked trail to what is probably an upper part of Ida Creek. Sweet spot.

Over lunch, we decided to return Rigby home. So I’m posting from home. We’ll be returning to the campground after a couple of hours here. Gonna take advantage of laundry and showers as long as we’re here.


K+10 July Overview

K+10 July overview
So, there I was, settled into the boatyard/marina with the ZP and my leg-length to-do list. In the evenings, I could retreat to Judy and Gary’s house for an idyllic, long shower and usually a perfect New Orleans meal prepared by Judy, who is a fabulous cook, followed by some tv or a fun novel then a good night’s sleep in a good bed in an airconditioned room. That was a wonderful boon for me. Having been in the Northwest for decades, I was NOT acclimated to New Orleans in the Summer and working on the exterior chores on the boat was sweltering and debilitating.

 Interior work was somewhat better because ZP had airconditioning. The tradeoff was that many of the interior jobs were nasty. For example, redoing all the plumbing for the head. Working on other peoples’ quarter-of-a-century-old shit is *not* something that brings me joy. The results – yes. The work – no.
The days I worked on the head, I seriously went back “home” and had Judy pour betadine over my hands and forearms.

 'nuff said,

So, as to my to-do list, there were a couple of biggies. Interior needed a new stove/oven. To go along with that, I wanted to build a good, safe propane storage area in the deep stern lazarette and, of course, then plumb the two together. In the other half of that big laz, I planned to install a generator, so I had a lot of things to do associated with that effort. To separate the laz and make the propane area safe was gonna involve some significant fiberglass work. In the deep laz. In the New Orleans Summer. I was not looking forward to that.
And then there was the whole separate issue of engine work needed. Not excited about that, either.

Other general tasks on the list were things like resealing all the ports and hatches, cleaning the galley of accumulated grime, and buying a dinghy and motor.

 On the good side of potential chores, the sale deal included a working fridge and it turned out that the existing fridge was dead. So, the dealer installed a new, high-quality fridge included in the purchase price. I appreciated that and not having to do that work myself.

Meanwhile, at home, Ronnie and the girls were prepping the house for our housesitter and choosing what to bring to New Orleans in the van for our cruise. What the van could hold was our determining factor for what we could take. I thought that was a pretty good yardstick. We intended July to be dedicated to me getting the ZP prepped and them getting the house prepped. At the beginning of August, they’d turn the house over to the sitter and drive down to NOLA. Hopefully, by that time, I’d have most, if not all, of the big stuff done.



Sunday, July 12, 2015

Roadtrip: Day004

Roadtrip: Day 004

The cold front from the last couple of days got pushed out by warmer stuff in the middle of the night. Ronnie and I both woke and threw off the covers we had desperately desired at bedtime. Sunny and beautiful but still not too hot now at 11:00 am. Rigby had a better night, even sleeping with us and demanding long periods of scratches and rubbing. We’ll see.


Full campground is mostly packing and heading home, leaving us with a more quiet environment. Ah, but newbies are arriving. Oh well…


Hiked the Chatter Creek Trail. It is a beautiful area, crossing the river at a wild and pristine spot. We went about 10 miles in kitty miles, about 100 yards in ranger miles and probably one mile in actual mileage. Very pretty.


Now, lunch and a rest.

Roadtrip: Day003

Roadtrip: Day 3

Hiked the Ida Creek trail for a mile or so with Rigby. She was a pretty happy trail cat. Still fairly unhappy around the campground. We’re gonna try one more night to see if she settles in. If not, it’ll be a quick run home to return her to her comfort zone. Crossed fingers.

I played a little guitar and looked at my legionary novel, thinking about writing the next chapter. Running the generator now to charge electronics. Cool today. We’ve had hot afternoons but not unbearable like we feared it might be. Today is still cool at noon.

Looks like it’s gonna stay cool all day today. Amazing, considering how much we feared and prepared for excessive heat.

Some sun in the afternoon but mostly cool. Quite a surprise. Pasta, BBQ chicken thighs, and salad for dinner. Yum! After dinner, Ronnie hooped a while and I put on my hakama and gi and did kendo kata (all 10 – grin) and iaido kata, the 12 seitei gata and the first set of Muso Shinden Ryu (shoden) kata. Now we’re gonna look at old photos which Ronnie rescued on her computer then hit the sack.

Later, gators.


Roadtrip: Day002

Roadtrip: Day 2

Perfect night and a better sleep than the previous night. Ronnie took an early hike with Rigby while I slept. When I got up we had breakfast, then took a family hike. Rigby the trail cat. But she’s still terribly uncomfortable/unhappy in the trailer and screenroom at the campground. Gotta see how that goes.


After our fears about the expected temperatures in the Leavenworth area, it has been pleasant. Definitely got hot yesterday as the day progressed but the nights have been cool. Today it’s midday and the overcast has kept it cool enough that I want a T-shirt. Yesterday I was only too happy to wear shorts and a smile.


As the afternoon progresses toward evening, the campground is filling up. Looks like we might be full for the weekend.

Roadtrip: Day001

Roadtrip: Day 1

It cooled down nicely during the night, which was a welcome thing. Rigby was talking and patrolling all night which was not so welcome. We breakfasted individually and spent the morning getting settled. Ronnie organized and rearranged much of the stuff which had just been put in the car somewhat randomly. As it heated up, we abandoned that to go wade in the river. Brrrr! That’ll cool ya down.


Sitting here now having lunch and uploading a few photos from my GoPro. More later.


We took a ride to Leavenworth in the throat of the afternoon. Airconditioned car ride was nice. Got ice and icecream treats. Coming back we rode a bit farther down the unpaved road to and past several places which live brightly in our memories. We’ve had a lot of lovely trips up this way.


Chatter Creek Campground, where we’ve stayed many times. So many sweet memories.


Our favorite “practice rock” where the girls learned to rock climb and where we’ve taken many visitors for their first attempt on live rock.


The 160-foot-or-so vertical face that Bob and I attempted when he came to visit for our mutual 40th birthday celebration. Neither of us made it but it was fun to try. Lots of great rock climbing along this way.


Many trailheads to beautiful alpine locations down this road. It’s a swell area.


Because we left yesterday (Wednesday), I missed kendo, although I did go to iaido on Monday. I brought all my gear for both, so I can practice when the mood strikes me. Not today. Still recuperating from the hectic pace of yesterday and the settling in and heat of today. We also brought a guitar, so we can play some music.


After a cocktail hour of tequila in blueberry lemonade, we finished off the last of the new potatoes with carrots and steak. Now it’s zen time.

Roadtrip: Day 000

Roadtrip: Departure Day 7/8/15


Yes! Closed up the trailer, loaded the van, hitched up, and pulled it all out onto the street. Departure imminent. Last things in the van were Ronnie, me, and Rigby. We’re gonna try to travel with her. We’ll see how it goes. If she settles in, we’ll go for it. If she’s having a terrible time after our shakedown camp, we’ll take her back home.


We drove over Highway 2, Stevens Pass, to Leavenworth, then turned up Icicle Creek Road and finally to Ida Creek Campground. There’s no one else here and we have a primo site, right by the water. Got basically set up in the heat, good enough for first night! Lots to organize better – tomorrow. Dinner of new potatoes and corn on the cob from our 2-burned interior stove, with pork chops on the gas BBQ attached to the outside of the trailer in our screen room. Enough for today. That is, as soon as we make our bed. When the sun went down, it became decently cool, especially with that evening wind down the river canyon,


This is a lovely spot to do our shakedown camp. Pleasant to just hang out by the river under the trees and then a million beautiful hikes with trailheads along this road when we’re in the mood for that.


Enough for now. Early bedtime tonight. More tomorrow.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Roadtrip: Monday loading

Today we packed, loaded, closed, and spun the trailer. Phew! It's just about ready to be hitched up. I also went to my last night of iaido for a while. I'm gonna miss that.

K+10 Boat Prep - boatyard/marina

On this day (approximately) 10 years ago, Bob and I moved the Zombie Princess into the little boatyard/marina on Bayou Bonfouca in Slidell. I had a home nearby (Judy and Gary's place) as a base of operations off the boat. I had the ZP herself, all airconditioned and comfortable in the New Orleans Summer. I had a West Marine nearby. And I had a lotta New Orleans food choices in easy distances, including Captain Humble's. The good cap'n was a radio personality back in the day but by '05 was running a food place in Slidell, Rock 'n' poboy!

Mainly, I had a to-do list as long as my... leg. It was time to get started on that!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Roadtrip: Sunday prep

Today I organized and prepared our road-worthy toolkit and firstaidkit. I have my travel wardrobe packed and readily accessible in a plastic drawer thingybobber. I have my cold-weather clothes stored in my backpack and some work-on-the-car-or-trailer clothes in yet another bag. We have yet to decide whether we'll leave or remove the captain's chairs in the middle of the van. Maybe keep one?

So we're pretty close to ready. We have a travelling wardrobe each, a low-access (hopefully!) cold-weather wardrobe, daypacks for hiking, a big drybag, camelbacks, new hiking boots (my first new pair in a LONG time!), a variety of hats, magical cool-off neckcloths, Gore-Tex gaiters, etc. ad nauseum.

We have two propane tanks, two deep-cycle batteries, and a Yamaha 2kW generator for when we need POWER! Portapotty and sunshower for when we're not at a campground with facilities.

And, of course, a full spectrum of electronics. How else would I pen these missives, Dear Reader? Or work on my novel, which I intend to do. Look for my name on the best-seller list soon. Or maybe at least on the self-published-crap list.

The Yammie

My personal mockup of a potential cover for my novel

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Roadtrip: Getting started

So, for the next few months I'm gonna maintain two separate threads on this blog. One is my Katrina-plus-10 (K+10 *) which is memories of events around Hurricane Katrina on the tenth anniversary of that event. The other will be this "Roadtrip: *" chronicling our tripping the light fantastic randomly around the country.

We've been prepping the house and our tent trailer for our planned departure of July 7. We might even make that. Sometime soon, anyway, we'll be hitting the road, just the two of us as a couple, while the girls stay in the house and finish their senior years at University of Washington. The way temps have been around the Northwest lately, we're thinking we're gonna start by heading over to Olympic National Park. It's significantly cooler on the peninsula and at the ocean beaches.

More reports as they happen. Stay tuned.

Tent trailer open with attached screen room.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

K+10 Boat Prep - Beginnings

By the end of June 2005 our Italian exchange student had finished school and was headed back to Trento, Ronnie and the girls were beginning to prep the house for departure, and I was flying to New Orleans to get things started. We signed the purchase agreement on July 5. Got the bottom scraped and painted. I got space at a boatyard/marina in Slidell, across the lake from New Orleans, and got my old pal Bob to help me get the newly-named Zombie Princess across the lake and up the bayou to her temporary home.

Judy and Gary lived nearby and graciously provided me with a home while I started working on making the Zombie Princess suitable for a multimonth family cruise.

It was a pretty long to-do list.