Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fun Photo Hunt Subject Photo Scavenger Hunt #111


Photo Scavenger Hunt #111 will be due on Sunday, June 10, at 11:00 PM EST. From Val standing in for her sister Krissy.

Our subject this week will be:
  "animals - live or inanimate

Please note
this is an extended Hunt.  You will have ten days.  I gave you the subject so late this week and I wanted you all to have time to take your photos.  Val

Well, everyone who's read my journal for any length of time would know that the one and only animal I would feature would be my girl "Gabi Lin."  Not that there aren't other cute and sweet animals out there, it's just that she's the nearest and dearest to my heart.   I'll tell her history here because if you're a new reader of my journal you may not know her story.

First of all, Gabi (means "God Is My Strength" in Hebrew) has been with me since October 4, 2005.  At that time it had been determined that she was approximately 2 years old.  So I gave her a birthday of October 4th.  She had been picked up by the Humane Society in August of 2005 on the streets of Seattle,  matted, filthy, starving and scared.  The Humane Society kept her long enough to scan her for a microchip and get her stablized and then they put her in the care of a feline foster mom just south of Seattle. 

This dear lady is a breeder of Persians and Exotic Shorthair cats.  Gabi is an Exotic Shorthair.   The foster mom put ads in all the local papers for weeks and no one called to claim her.   meanwhile, a co-worker of mine had an older male Persian that had to be put to sleep.  She also had a female exotic that was about 14 months old at the time and got really weird acting after the older cat was put down.  So she decided to get another cat.  She called this lady and asked if she had any exotic kittens ready to be adopted and the lady said all she had at the time was this rescued female that was approximately 2 years old.  She emailed some pictured to my friend (who promptly emailed them to me) and I knew when I saw them that if my friend didn't want this cat...I did.  She captured my heart the minute I saw those pictures.  I've always had cats, but all those past cats were regular cats...not smooched face cats (aka SFC).  But I thought she was so cute, I didn't care if she did have a flat face. 

My friend really wanted a kitten but told the foster mom, she'd give this two year old a try and see if she was a good fit with her other cat.  One thing that came out when Gabi (my friend and I actually decided on her name together before she went and picked her up)  was handed over to my friend was that she need moist food twice a day because of not having a good diet for so long, she had lost some of her teeth and needed more than dry food to keep her going.  Now my friend only feeds dry food so for two days she had to keep these two cats apart at feeding time and she finally got so frustrated, she came into work one day and said "if you really want this cat, you can have her.  It's just not owrking out for me."   I was so thrilled....I took an extra half hour at lunch, went to Petsmart got a carrier, some food, litter and all the other goodies you need for an indoor cat.   My friend took my new carrier and went to her house about 3pm that afternoon, got Gabi and brought her back to me.  She's been with me every since. 

She is a very sweet little girl...she follows me around most of the time like my shadow, sleeps on a blanket at the end of my bed, and at time, she thinks I retired to sit on the couch and hold her all day.

I know she has had something traumatic happen to her, she's terrified if anyone picks her up but other than that does not seem to be afraid of anyone, except real young children.  I've tried to get her to tell me her story, but she doesn't want to talk about it.

How a little 5 pound pure bred exotic shorthair ended up on the streets of Seattle, I guess only God knows.  But I'm happy she survived and even happier that she ended up at my house.  She is a dear sweet little kitty.

And yes, a couple weeks after Gabi came to live with me, my friend found a beautiful exotic shorthair kitten in the Portland, Oregon area.  So both of us ended up happy with loving cats.

             "Happiness is being owned by a cat !"

So that's my "animal" story for the Photo Scavenger Hunt #111.

Terror On The Beach

After an afternoon of shopping and sight seeing in Solvang, we headed back to Highway 101 northbound.  We had heard that there was beach camping at Grover Beach (just a few miles south of Pismo Beach).  We arrived in the little city of Grover Beach about 6:30pm, tired and hungry, thinking of the steaks we had back in the camper's fridge.  We planned to get settled and fire up the BBQ.  We stopped at the very official toll house and the end of the city's main street and paid our $8 for one night of beach camping.  The young man (in a California State Park uniform) told us to drive down on the beach going about 2 1/2 miles and we would "see the others."  Now we have both driven, since we were in high school, on the beaches of Washington state.  Bob knew what he was doing...but as we drove along the surface of the beach began to get so rough.  It was literally like driving on an old fashioned washboard.   He was having a hard time finding the right kind of sand to drive on..not too loose & dry and of course not out in the surf.  We had slowly gone about two miles when up ahead we saw a river coming out into the ocean.  A 4-wheel drive truck was heading our way and as it came thru the "river" we could see that the truck dropped down about 3 feet, went thru fairly deep water and then up the other bank about 3 feet.  At that point Bob decided to abort this mission.  There was no way we could get thru that area with the big camper on the truck and just having 2 wheel drive.  So he turned around and we headed back.  Both of us were already mad at this point that the park employee hadn't warned us of the rough conditions.  We drove along for awhile and we met by another big truck with camper, and pulling a heavily loaded trailer behind them.  Bob slowed down a little and motioned to them not to continue.  At that point, we came to a halt in very soft dry sand.  Buried in the back up to the camper steps.  The other guy stopped and came over with a shovel and started trying to dig us out.  Bob told the man he had AAA and that he would just call them and someone would come and tow us out. 

(The time was about 7:15pm, it was starting to get dark and the tide was coming in.)  Meanwhile the other guy got turned around and told us he was going back to the toll booth to report that we were stuck. Pretty soon Bob's cell phone rang and it was a very nice man letting us know that his towing company was not allowed on this particular beach.  He said the state of California had an exclusive contract with a local towing company and we'd have to call them.   About this time the good Samaritan came back and told us he'd gone to the toll booth and told the young man that we were stuck and the kid just shrugged his shoulders and said there was nothing he could do. So he'd come back to help us get out.  As he turned around to try and pull us out.....he got stuck ! 

By this time I am freaking out !! It's getting darker, the water is getting closer...believe me I was sitting in the cab of the truck praying hard.   Finally two 4-wheel drive trucks with "locals" in them came along and Bob & the other guy waved them down and they did get us out of the sand.  Bob gave the guy that pulled us out $20 and the other man gave his "life savior" some cash.  We were out and not any too soon. The waves were coming within 6-7 feet of the truck. 

 We did stop and Bob asked for his $8 back but the toll taker  wanted him to fill out a bunch of forms and he was so mad, he wouldn't do it.  I was afraid he'd strangle the young man at the toll booth but he restrained himself. The young man did tell us that the local towing company charges between $250 ~$300 to tow a vehicle off the beach.  Hmmmm..  not a good incentive for tourists to come to their State Beach Campground.  

After we got home I wrote a scathing letter to the city council of Grover Beach and advised them that they should have some sort of warning signs and not let anyone on that beach that doesn't have 4 wheel drive.  It's just not safe.  They did reply and said "they'd look into to it."  We passed several big motor homes after we were freed and Iwonder what happened to them when they got further down the beach....did they float off to Japan ?

Needless to say we had no BBQ'd steaks that night...we had In-N-Out, just north of Pismo Beach.  When we stopped there I opened the door to the camper and almost passed out.  It looked like a bomb had gone off back there.  There were broken dishes and items out of all the cupboards littering the floor. After we ate, we spent another 30 minutes cleaning up the mess.  We were finally on the road again and soon found a nice, quiet  rest area about 187 miles south of San Francisco where we settled in for the night.

Until next time....Linda


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Time To Head North

Tuesday morning, April 24th we said our goodbyes and sadly left the Pasadena home of Jerry, Hope, Nina and Emil until our next visit.  This family is such a joy to be's always sad to leave them. 

We headed for Highway 101 northbound for our first campsite on our way home.   We stopped and took in the grandeur of the beautiful Pacific ocean just south of Santa Barbara, CA.  It's not like we never see the Pacific, it's just so different (namely warmer) in southern California. 

We headed into Santa Barbara and stopped at Vonn's for groceries.  I love this beautiful town, however we didn't do much sightseeing there this time but we have in the past.  We headed up out of Santa Barbara on Highway 154 to Cachuma Lake.  This is a favorite campground for people living in southern California and Bob has camped there several times with his Pasadena family.  On weekends and during the summer I understand it is absolutely packed...every campsite full.  But we arrived to have our pick of campsites.  When we finally got settled, we could only see 5 other sites with campers from our site.   There was an area that had full hook-ups that was pretty full and since we are self contained we really don't need hook-ups.  And we wanted a nice quiet spot where we could see the lake.  If you live in that area and want to go there and camp and want a good site..we were in campsite #455.  It's lovely !!

The next morning we left Cachuma Lake, passing grape fields and oil wells and arrived shortly at Solvang, CA.

Solvang is beautiful town, called the "Danish Capital of America." I love all the little shops, including the Danish bakeries (yummy)  I was able to get some more Delft items here and we had a wonderful lunch in the Red Viking restaurant.  Bob considered trying the pickled herring (he's part Finnish and his Finnish mother loved that delicacy) but in the end decided not to.  There was quite a bit of what looked like road repair going on, so a couple of the main streets were blocked off.  And since it was very warm there, after lunch and checking out a few more shops we climbed in the truck and continued our trek north.

Once again I used the Ken Burns format so you can click on the pictures if you wish to read the captions.

Next installment....terror on the beach !! 




Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Some More Downtown Los Angeles Adventures

Another one of the days that Hope went to the drapery rod store, she dropped Bob and I off in the center of the downtown Los Angeles wholesale district.  I've only posted a few pictures because it would take days to see all the stores.  We did not get to the silk flower shops or the garden shops where they have all kinds of pots and containers for planting.  I did want to go to the silk plant store because I'd like to buy an artificial Lucky Bamboo plant.   Maybe next time.

This entry contains the picture that I took of the lady on a corner selling little baby rabbits, ducks, turtles, etc.   I took the picture and she hollered "$5 for picture."  I gave her "the look" and kept walking.  I really wonder how legal it is for them to be selling these little animals, having them caged up out in the hot sun, like that.  There's also a picture that I took in one of the fabric outlets, that made me think of Robin's husband, Michael.

Also, just opposite of the "animal lady" was a lady with sliced melon, pineapple and honeydew.  It all looked very tempting but the conditions were such that we felt it wasn't a good idea to buy anything from these vendors. 

We saw many people on the streets carrying what looked like all their worldly possessions in shopping carts.  Once when we were sitting on a bench "people watching" I looked over and noticed a sign on the end of a shopping cart that said "Shopping carts for the homeless."  I wasn't able to read all of the fine print as it was quite lengthy but apparently the grocery stores in the area are sick and tired of their costly shopping carts disappearing. 

My only purchase from the wholesale district was a "knock-off" Brentano handbag that I got for $20.  Probably if it were the real thing it would have been much more than that.   Anyway,I love it.  It was good on the rest of the trip because I could throw my wallet in there plus a bottle of water and have room for the little odds and ends I bought along the way.

Anyway, after about 3 1/2 hours, Hope called Bob's cell phone to see where we were, soon she pulled up and we were back in the car and on the freeway headed back to Pasadena.

It's a very warm, sunny day here in western Washington today.  So I spent the morning doing some heavy duty watering, especially my new roses.  

Until next time.......Linda

Monday, May 28, 2007


In 1865, Henry Welles, a druggist in Waterloo, New York, mentioned at a social gathering that something should be done to honor the brave souls who died in the Civil War.   The townspeople agreed and a day was set aside in May to decorate the graves with wreaths, crosses and bouquets.   This day was known as "Decoration Day." 

The first official recognition of  Decoration Day was in May of 1868.  That year Waterloo joined other communities in the nation by having their ceremony on May 30th.     After World War II, the use of "Memorial Day" became more common, but was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967

Over the years, Memorial Day has been "watered" down to become a day of barbeques, picnics, etc.  And that's all fine, but we need to get back to the original reason the day was created.....It's a day to remember those who have given "the ultimate sacrifice" of their lives for the many freedoms we often take for granted.

Memorial Day is really May 30th but has been celebrated the last Monday of May to allow for a three day weekend.  There is a movement underway to return it's observance to May 30th, however.  See this statement I found when doing some research on line;  "The VFW stated in a 2002 Memorial Day Address, "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day" Hawaii's Senator Daniel Inouye a World War II veteran, has repeatedly introduced measures to return Memorial Day to its traditional day since 1998."

A very interesting thought.  Would it make a difference ?  Would you celebrate Memorial Day differently if it were always observed on May 30th, no matter what day of the week it fell on ? 

Finally,I'm including the following poem;  

In Flanders Fields
By: LieutenantColonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday This and That

Friday I purchased five "Knock Out " rose bushes from a local garden shop.  I have this strip on the side of my front yard where I had planted dahlias several years ago.  They did fine for a couple years and then last year I had one bloom.  So Bob took his rototiller to the strip and I cleared out all the debris and Friday afternoon with the help of my grand daughter I planted the 3 pink and 2 red "Knock Out"  rose bushes. They are described as a "tough and hardy landscape shrub rose."  I'm hoping as they grow...they will spread out and create a row of beautiful color.  My next door neighbor has already voiced his approval...they have rocks in place of lawn, so you can understand his approval of my flowers. 

My grand daughter spent Friday night here and Saturday I helped her make a summer nightgown.  I did most of the machine sewing, because she hasn't had a lot of experience in that area but she was right at my side all day, helping where she could.  When my son-in-law picked her up, we had it all done but the facing around the arm holes and she will do that by hand.

This afternoon, I ventured to the other end of town to The Grand Cinema to see the movie "Miss Potter."   The life story of Beatrix Potter played by Renee Zellweger.  It was delightful (no bad language or sex scenes) and I recommend it to anyone who has read and loved The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Well, that's all for now...I have a gray and white kitty begging for her late afternoon food, so I suppose I should get off here and comply with her wishes.     I hope everyone is having a good in the U.S. it's a three day weekend for most. 

Until next time,  Linda

More Los Angeles Adventures

Once again, I'm leaving the picture in the "Ken Burns" format so you can click on them and read the captions, if you'd like.

On one of Hope's trips to the Wholesale District in regards to her drapery rods, she dropped us off for a couple hours at Olvera Street.   Bob always goes there when he visits the area and I love to go there too, it was one of the places I remember visiting with my aunts, uncles, grandparents and my mom & dad on our trip in 1955.   The place where I had my first taste of Mexican cuisine

There's always musicians strolling the area.  We stood and listened to one group of three people who were being filmed, by a very professional looking group of photographers.  I love the music and the atmosphere of this place.

There are hundreds of stalls with all types of different merchandise for sale.  Bob & I particularly like the leather goods stalls.  Belts, purses, little coin purses, shoes...anything that can be made of leather.  And yes I bought another little wallet type purse that you hang around your neck....just big enough to hold some change, a few bills and your ID.'s red and it really caught my eye, so I had to have it.  I think it was $ not very expensive.   Also, there are several open air places to eat.  We've been to several of them in the past and this year we tried a new place.  We sat at a table just ouside a glass partition where a man was making formed taco shells.  The food was very good and not at all expensive.   The service is great, the food good and the prices low...what more can you ask for ?

We had first walked down the street to the famous birth place of the French Dip sandwich, Philippes hoping to eat there.  It's situated between Olvera Street and China Town and across the street for the Los Angeles Union Station.   We had stopped there once earlier in the week with Hope, only to find literally hundreds of people waiting in line to order.   It was the same thing this day, so that's when we decided to go back and eat at Olvera street.  We did walk thru the place to use the restrooms and Bob wanted to show me a very interesting picture of a locomotive engine that went past the end of the track.  (I've posted that picture in this entry).

After about 3 hours Bob's cell phone rang and it was Hope on her way back to pick us up.   We hooked up with her on a nearby corner and we were soon on the busy freeway system, heading back to Pasadena.

Until next time........Linda

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Just One Footprint

The area in front of Mann's Chinese Theater is where you'll find the "footprints" of the stars.  I've been there before and taken pictures of many of them.  But on this visit, I only took the picture of one set of famous footprints; those of my hero, John Wayne.

Those of you who have been reading my journal for a long time, already know that I not only met John Wayne but had lunch with him in March of 1955.  My uncle worked as a still photographer for the movie studios .  We were in southern California (one of the very few family vacations we had when I was growing up)  and he took me to work with him one day.  John Wayne and Lauren Bacall were filming the movie "Blood Alley" (a very good movie I might add) and my uncle made sure I had  8 x 10 glossy pictures of that special day.  Lauren Bacall sat for the picture & got up and walked away but John Wayne was different.  He chatted with this timid 13 year old, asking about school, etc.  Then he asked me if I was hungry and said "let's have some lunch."     Soon box lunches appeared and he along with my uncle, myself and some other movie people were soon seated at a big round table near the set, eating sandwiches, etc.  I remember sitting next to him, but I has in such a fog, that's about all I remember. 

So you can see why, even after all these years, I have a special place in my heart for this man.  He was so genuine and friendly, I will never forget him.   It was an honor to once again visit his special spot in front of Mann's Chinese Theater.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Hollywood's Walk of Fame

I did not take a picture of every single star that's been placed along the Hollywood's Walk of Fame.  They go on for blocks and you would almost have to have a map to see them all.  But I did take a picture of 33 stars..... Did I get a picture of your favorite star ?

If you didn't get an alert from me yesterday, I did post an entry along with pictures from the day we spent in Hollywood.

Until next time,  Linda

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Part Eleven of our 35 day Adventure

Jerry and Hope have a friend named Robert, who they invite over every couple weeks for dinner and "movie night."   He came over on Wednesday night while we were there and he was talking about a project he's been working on with a group of business people.  It restoring the beautiful Million Dollar Theater.   It was built around 1918 and has been declared a National Historic Site.  Anyway, he invited us to come down the next day for a tour of this beautiful, old building.  It's really a mess right now but you can see the potential once the restoration is finished.  There are over 2,000 seats in this theater and may famous actors performed there, during the vaudeville days. Oh, if those walls could talk. It was not very light in there, so the pictures I took are not very good in quality.  After we finished in the theater we went a few steps down the street to the Grand Central Market which has been feeding Los Angeles since 1917.  There was every type of food item (and liquor) you can imagine for sale in the hundreds of stalls.  There were also many mini restaurants in there, where you could buy a meal.    From there we crossed over to the Bradbury Building.  It was so beautiful, as you walk into the building there's this huge atrium area, the use of wrought iron, hardwood and sandstone is awesome!

Then on Friday April 20th, Jerry, Hope, Bob and myself spent the day in Hollywood.  We had pizza at a little "hole in the wall" place that's been serving pizza inthat location for over 50 years.  The day was cool (it had poured rain the night before) so it was perfect for strolling along, taking in the sites.   This is one area of southern California that is truly sad.  There are street people laying on benches, up against street light poles and even along the curbs. It's very sad to see the toll that drugs, alcohol and mental illness has taken on these dear souls.  Down near the Kodak Theater and the Wax Museum, we ran into many familiar characters, all too happy to pose for pictures for a small fee.   All in all we had a good day, strolling along, people watching and getting a little exercise too.

Next entry....The Hollywood Walk of Fame and the area around Mann's Chinese Theater.  Until then, have a good day !    Linda in sunny and warm Washington state

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Part Ten of our 35 Day Journey

Last time I posted an entry of our 35 day road trip; (  we were spending the night in a gravel parking lot behind a gas station in Quartszite, AZ  because we couldn't find anyone awake at any of the RV parks.   We woke up the next morning (Monday April 23rd) and after having our coffee and eating some breakfast in the camper, we set out to investigate Quartszite.  There wasn't much to see because there were not very many people left in town.  The "snow birds" had left for the most part. The population of this little town really swells during the winter months.  Most of the shops (even the Thrift Shop) were closed.   We did find a few open air stands open and they had some great "close-out" prices but we didn't really find anything we wanted.    

We reached the California border about 12:15pm.  We were both anxious to get to Pasadena, to Bob's daughter & son-in-law's house.  Anxious to see them and anxious to see the two teenage grandkids

Thirty miles east of Indio, CA we stopped at the General George Patton Memorial Museum.  We didn't go into the museum but we walked around and looked at the outdoor displays.   We were just anxious to keep going at this point.  But it was good to get out & stretch our legs.

Later in the afternoon, in the Palm Springs, CA area we passed hundreds of acres of windmills.  It was fascinating to watch them as we passed by.  And I was amazed to see huge ones, next to little ones.   They were all sizes.

Finally at about 6pm, we pulled up to the gate of Bob's daughter Hope and son-in-law Jerry's house.  Bob called the house on his cell phone and the gate was opened and we were warmly greeted by his 16 yr old grandson and 13 yr old grand daughter.  Hope was out running some errands and arrived shortly after we got there.  Jerry was working late and we didn't get to see him until the next day.  It was good to be "home."  That family makes you feel so welcome, you really do feel like you're home.    We decided keep sleeping in the camper rather than haul all our stuff into the house.  We were just right outside their kitchen door and locked safely inside the yard.

In this entry I've included some pictures of the beautiful flowers blooming in the beautiful city of Pasadena, one of the oldest In-N-Out burger stands and the Avon Pasadena Branch building where, for over 30 years I've sent an order every two weeks.  A couple years ago, I even emailed my order from Hope & Jerry's house just a couple miles from the Avon building.    

In the next entry, I'll tell you about some of our adventures around the area.


Until next time........Linda


Sunday, May 20, 2007


Bob and I took my grandson, Harrison, on his surprise birthday trip today.  He's crazy about airplanes and had not been to the Museum of Flight  in Olympia (about 30 miles south of here) so that's where we went.  His dad is taking him to their big air show the weekend of June 16-17 but this gave him an opportunity to get a little preview before then.  We were really bummed because there was only one staff member on duty and we were not able to go out on the field and see the planes & helicopters they have outside.  (For safety reasons, there must be a staff member to escort guests to that outdoor area.)  Thankfully the one guy there gave us a discount on the admission price because of that. 

He was very helpful though and gave us a lot of history about the planes in the hanger.  They have a replica of a Japanese Zero, that happens to be a movie star.  It flew in the movies "Tora, Tora, Tora" and "Pearl Harbor" and was used in several TV shows.  All of their planes still fly....and are are taken up on a regular basis.   When I took the pictures, they had covers over the cockpits as there was a huge party in the hanger last night and the planes had to be rolled outside.  Just as we were leaving the guy was taking the covers off...just my luck.

After we were through there, Bob decided we should go to the Red Wind Casino and have their lunch buffet.   He figured that was a good way to fill up the belly of a growing 16 yr old boy.  Since it was a casino, security escorted us from the front door into the buffet area (no one under 21 allowed on the gaming floor).   Harrison had never been in a casino before and I think he kind of got a kick out of seeing all the people staring into those machines, hoping to win a fortune.

It started raining heavy as we left the casino and is still raining hard.  It's fine with me...things were starting to dry up.  And this rain means I won't have to water the lawn or my plants for awhile.

I hope everyone has had a good weekend.  I think I'm going to build a little fire in the woodstove and kick back and watch a movie.  I sure won't have to cook any dinner tonight, that's for sure.

Until next time......Linda

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Evening Update

Apparently, AOL is going to make some changes again this weekend, see; 

So.... I'm waiting until after the weekend to do another travel log entry.  I arrange my pictures in a certain way and with their latest upgrade, the  pictures come out floating about, making no sense at all. 

I had a great Friday, meeting with friends Barbara, Joni and Sharon for lunch at the Olive Garden.  Again, we all went to grade school and high school together and it was fun getting together over soup, salad and bread sticks.   

It was bright and sunny this morning but this afternoon the wind has come up and there are dark threatening clouds floating about in the sky.    It wouldn't hurt my feelings if we got a good rain.   Although Sunday, Bob & I are taking my grandson on his surprise birthday trip, and I'd like it to be nice for that.  

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  Until next time....Linda


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Part Nine~Our Arizona Home For Two Days & A Surprise Birthday Party

Ok...after driving thru a snow storm we found a rest area about 40 miles  south of Flagstaff.  We settled in for the night and woke up the next morning to beautiful blue skies.  When I opened the curtain over the kitchen sink I noticed this strange bus parked down from us in the rest area.   I sent Bob on a "mission" to check this thing out.   So he strolled nonchalantly down the sidewalk and came back...."Linda you have to come and see this for yourself."    So I grabbed my camera and went to check it out.  It was an old school bus, with the top of a VW van that's been cut off and welded to an opening in the top of the bus.  There were two gals, and the brother of one of them, traveling together. The brother sleeps in the upper area & the two girls us the bottom of the bus for their living quarters.  They have a propane stove, fridge & sink for washing dishes, etc.  I forgot to ask if they had a bathroom.  The bus starts on diesel fuel but after it gets warmed up, it runs on old vegetable oil they get from restaurants.  A cheap source of fuel...Such a deal, huh ? 

Friday morning we left the rest area about 9am headed for the Phoenix area.  Bob's former wife & her mother were at their vacation house in Phoenix so we headed there to get the keys & directions to the "patio" house owned by Bobs' daughter and son in law.  It was so good to be able to be in a real house again, if even for a couple days.  I did loads & loads of laundry. We cooked a nice steak dinner cooked on the BBQ, and I got to sleep in (or on) a real bed for 2 nights. Bob chose to sleep in the camper, he says he's more comfortable there.  I was also able to hook up  my laptop and really getback on line again.  The house has everything one would need to be comfortable....all you need is your clothes and your food.  Friday night we explored the area...found the local Wal  Mart and the Goodwill.  I loved all the different species of cactus and palm trees, that I saw as we drove around.  Saturday, Bob did a few odd jobs around the place, while I pulled the ironing board into the living room, turned the TV on and ironed all the stuff that needed ironing.   Bob washed the truck and got in trouble from one of the neighbors .  There is already a water shortage in the area (we weren't aware of this) and the neighbor let him know he was wasting their water washing the truck.  We both felt bad about this. We were supposed to be at the church where the surprise party was being held by 5pm, so we took off about 3:30pm.  It was hot and we still had no air conditioning, so I decided to make the 44 mile trip in my coolest summer clothes and then change in the camper once we got to the church.  We went in and I introduced myself to Nancy's daughters.  They had arranged for Bob & I to sit at the table where Nancy & her husband would also be sitting.  There was a "lookout" person who was going to announce when Nancy and her husband arrived and then the word would be passed to those in the large social hall of the church.  Everyone was to stand up and yell "Surprise" when they came in.  That is all the people stood up but me.  I stayed seated with my back to the entry way.  She actually tried to escape when she saw all the people but Don grabbed her and brought her back.  She started making her way thru the crowd, greeting people and then all of a sudden Bob poked me in the back and said "turn to your left"...I looked and there she was.  I was afraid she was going to have a heart attack...she looked at me and her mouth fell open.  The next thing I knew we were hugging.  She just couldn't believe I was there.  The party was so nice..all done in an Italian theme.  There was so much food (all Italian) and such beautiful decorations...I wish I'd taken more pictures of all the decorations, etc.  I loved the main birthday cake, there was a picture of Nancy as a little girl, the same picture that was on the invitation.  Her two daughters did all the planning and with the help of their dad's Visa card did an absolutely fantastic job.

After the party, we drove back to the patio house and settled in for the night.  We knew the next morning, we had eat breakfast,  pack up the camper again, get showers, and get the towels from the house washed and dried and back in their places.   Bob's daughter had requested that we turn the water and hot water tank off when we left, so that was the last thing we did.  We then went to the other house they have there in the area.  It's newer and much bigger.  They also rent it out and some people were actually checking in there that afternoon but Bob's daughter wanted a clock out of that house brought to her in Pasadena, CA.  So we rushed over there, got the clock, made sure the house was all in order and then locked it up and took all the keys back to his former wife. 

I have included pictures of both houses, so that if any of you out there are interested in renting one of these places during the cold winter months, you can contact me and I'll put you in touch with Bob's daughter for more information.

Nancy & her husband had invited us over to eat leftovers from the party, so we headed for their house in Tempe.   All the kids were there, some of the grandkids, and some other friends.  We had an enjoyable, relaxing afternoon and that fetuccine, etc was even better warmed up.  It was hard to say goodbye but we did pull out of their driveway about 5:30pm.   We drove west for about 3 hours and finally stopped in Quartzite, AZ.  We went to several RV parks but could not rouse anyone so finally just parked in a dirt parking lot next to a gas station.  Our wild weekend in Arizona was over.

Until next time........Linda

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Little of This and A Little of That

I've been consumed with posting entries of our trip and have neglected to talk about what's been going on since we got home.  First of all, I've been busy, busy in my yard.  usually, I plant like crazy in the month of  April and since I was gone for the entire month....nothing got planted.   At this point all my hanging baskets and pots are planted  and  I've added a few new perennials to my "lump" of dirt, next to my neighbors driveway.   I found a new (to me anyway) almost white marigold, that has a sweet fragrance.  It's called "Sweet Cream. "  I don't really care all that much for the plain old yellow ones, so this new (to me) variety caught my eye.  I still have  some impatiens to plant in some white planters I have, but there are still a few daffodils blooming in each one, so I'm keeping the impatiens on water until the daffodils are finished blooming.  Then I'll roll down the leaves, wrap them with rubber bands and plant the impatiens in between.

My son mowed the lawn while I was gone and I did get the front lawn mowed the other day.  Today, I took the Weed Eater out and trimmed around the back yard and will mow it when it cools off (it's 80 degrees here today).  Maybe later tonight.

Mother's Day was dear son took me to lunch/early dinner at El Toro's (yummy Mexican).  The day before he brought me a beautiful hanging basket he had purchased at a local Farmers market.   My daughter & son in law gave me a gift certificate for my favorite local garden shop.  And Sunday afternoon (after I got home from dinner) and again Monday afternoon (with friend Barbara) I went there and spent the whole thing except for 5 cents.   It felt good !!

Today I went for my first visit to Curves.  My Medicare supplement plan pays for a membership to Curves, LA Fitness or Gold's Gym.  I chose Curves because it's just for women, I decided I didn't want to work out my fat old body in front of a bunch of studly guys.  Anyway, my plan is to go three times a week and maybe, just maybe I can drop a few inches and pounds.  Barbara & I must start taking apples when we go to the movies, instead of eating that deadly (but good) movie popcorn. 

My grandson turned 16, while I was away.  So I'm planning on taking him on his "birthday surprise trip this week."  The destination is not too far,  it will just be a day trip. 

Well, that's all of the "this and that" I can think of for now.  I will post another entry on our trip in the next day or so.

Until later..........Linda

Part Eight~the Really GRAND CANYON !

First of all let me say...for those of you living in the U.S. and are 62 years of age and over.....go to the closest National Park and buy a Golden Age Passport for $10.  It's a lifetime pass and can be used for discounts or in the case of the Grand Canyon, the price for us was FREE.  At several campgrounds we simply filled in the Golden Age Pass number on the little envelope and our campsite was half price.  A real deal for seniors. 

We entered at the South Rim entrance and almost immediately were treated to some of the most beautiful sights.  We parked first at Mather Point  where we took pictures and visited the Visitor Center.  We knew our visit wouldn't be very long, as it was extremely cold and windy right from the beginning.  We even encountered snow flakes at several of the viewing points.   The canyon at times was completely obscured by clouds and at other times was partly cloudy and sunny.  The dark clouds in the distance were very ominous and were slowly moving closer.  We literally went from vista point to vista point admiring the views, snapping pictures and then ducking back into the cab of the truck to warm up.  The weather conditions were not what we had hoped for but it did not take away the pleasure of seeing the magnificent views.  The Grand Canyon is truly grand and we just saw a little corner of it.

When we left the park, we stopped at several Navajo craft stands, admiring the jewelry, pottery and other craft items.  At one stand there was a sweet lady doing some bead work and her hands were so cold, they were nearly purple.   They were all freezing too.  I bought one little pot...I would have preferred a bigger one and more than one but I live in an already packed mobile home. The little pot is only 2 1/2 inches high and cost $15.  But the detail work around the sides is so pretty and of course it's been glazed, so has a nice shiny finish. The artists all sign their ceramic pot was made by M. Grey  and then it says "Navajo"  under the name.    And I bought one silver necklace....that I absolutely love.  It was only $7 and I wish now I would have bought several of them.   The style I bought was also available with many other colors of beads. 

About 25 miles from Flagstaff those black clouds finally opened up and a heavy rain started.  It absolutely poured...I thought for a minute we were back home in Washington.  Just outside of Flagstaff it turned to snow, and by the time we got into town it was really coming down (and sideways since the wind was blowing).  We spied an Outback up ahead of us, so went off the freeway, figuring if we stopped to eat..the snow would diminish while we were in the such luck.   When we came out of the Outback, it snowing even harder.  Bob ran to the truck and came & picked me up at the front door and I told him, that he'd forgotten to turn the headlights on.  He reminded me that the headlights come on automatically when the engine is running.  So he stopped and got out and looked...the headlights were totally packed with snow.  He cleaned them off and we continued on.   Being an avid skier, he has driven in many snow storms getting to the mountains.  He said the drive from Flagstaff down out of the snow, on a scale of 1-10...10 being unable to see past your nose....the visibility this night was at least a 7.  Here we were in the dark, on an unfamiliar highway, in blinding snow, big semi's roaring by was darn scary.   Finally about 40 miles south of Flagstaff we were out of the snow and parked safely for the night in a rest area. 

Until next time..........Linda

Monday, May 14, 2007

Part Seven of a 35 Day Journey

In the last episode, Bob had walked my feet off in Las Vegas.  The last day there, we got back to the truck and camper after a full day in Vegas and drove about 4 miles to a Wal Mart.  We had decided not to pay for another night at Sam's Town RV when we couldn't use their hook-ups.

The next morning we headed in the direction of the Grand Canyon.  Bob hadn't been there since 1955 and I had never been there, so we were both excited about this destination.   We both have a "Goodwill" attraction (you never know what treasure you'll find there) so we stopped at the Goodwill in Vegas on our way out of town. Actually,  Bob wanted a bag (like a gym bag ) to put the electrical cord and water hose in, so they would store easier in the camper.  He found one for 50 cents and it easily stored the long electrical cord.  (He did find another one, I believe at the Goodwill in Pasadena, CA for the water hose.) 

Anyway, after his big purchase, we continued on, stopping at the Railroad Pass Casino in Henderson, Nevada for lunch.   After lunch we came to beautiful Lake Mead and Hoover Dam.  We were able to get off to the side of the road as we approached Lake Mead and we so wanted to stop and visit the different displays at the dam, but there's a lot of construction going on  and there was no place for the truck in any of the visitor parking lots.  All the pictures I took there were from the truck as we slowly passed by.  

We drove all day passing very few other cars and not many towns.  At about 6:30pm we arrived in the town of Seligman, AZ.   It was a delightful historic little town on the famous Route 66.  I've always had an interest in Route 66 so this was fun for me.  We stopped at the General Store and after talking with the man running the store, found out he was originally from Washington state.  (It's a small world)   I bought some postcards here and we continued on.   It was surprisingly cold and very windy here.  So, I got in the camper before we left and changed from summer clothes into winter clothes.  Sometime later we reached the town of Williams, AZ where we intended to gas up.  Williams is another full blown Route 66 town and I went into one gift shop to ask about a campground or RV park and I tell you...I could have stayed in there for hours.   The nice lady there directed us to a campground that is the starting point for the Grand Canyon Railroad.  When Bob stopped at the office, the man said that the campground was full but we were more than welcome to park for free in their overflow lot.  So that's what we did.  He went to the furthest corner of the lot to get away from a couple of RV's that were running generators and parked.   We settled in for the night and about an hour and a half later we were jolted awake by a very long Burlington Northern freight train.  We were like 1/2 block from the tracks...oh my scared us so bad.   He immediately got up and moved the truck to the very other far end of the lot and we settled in again.  I heard three more trains during the night but at least we weren't in the "de-rail zone" like we had been originally.  I love trains and they don't really bother me much...but if one of those trains had de-railed we would have been toast.

We were up and back on the road about 9:30am the next morning and stopped later at a very pretty area for a hot-dog lunch a few miles from the Grand Canyon entrance.   I  always eat breakfast first thing in the morning (so I always have my box of Kashi Crunch cereal & milk ) Bob on the other hand just drinks coffee for a couple hours and eats later.  So the hot dog lunch was only about 3 hours after my bowl of cereal and bagel.

Soon after we entered the gates at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National park.

Until next time.......Linda


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

"Before I was a Mom I never tripped over toys or
forgot words to a lullaby

I didn't worry whether or not my plants were

I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom - I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.

I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby
Before I was a Mom I never held a sleeping baby
just because I didn't want to put them down.

I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn't stop the hurt.

I never knew that something so small could affect
my life so much.

I never knew that I could love someone so much.

I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom - I didn't know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body..

I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a
hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her

I didn't know that something so small could make
me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom - I had never gotten up in the
middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all
was okay.

I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love,
the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of
being a Mom.

I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom."

Happy Mother's Day to all moms, step moms, foster moms and to those dad's who had to be both dad and mom.   Thanks to my friend Candy (also a mom) for the proceeding Mother's Day sentiment.           Linda

Photo Scavenger Hunt #109


Photo Scavenger Hunt #109 will be due on Sunday, May 20, at 11:00 PM EST.

Our subject this week will be:  "my Mom", moms, Mother's Day

This week Krissy's sister Val is taking over the Photo Scavenger hunt.

Here's a picture of my mom and myself, taken in 1944.  At the time, my dad was somewhere in Europe with the U.S. Army so there were lots of pictures of us taken while he was away.  My mom passed away in 1987....I think of & miss her everyday.  Linda....

Part Six~Viva Las Vegas !

Like I said in the last entry, we left Pahrump and headed for Las Vegas.  I was really excited because I had never been there.  Two years ago, I flew into the airport there, but had to catch another plane to Burbank, CA so never got out of the airport.  I remember seeing the Luxor as we landed but that's all. 

We finally found Sam's Town, where we had reserved an RV space. It's quite a ways outside of the strip but they have nice air conditioned shuttle buses that go back and forth every 30 minutes or so. We got settled in our camp spot, however we were really disgusted because they told us we had to head into the spot and the only thing we could hook up to was electricity.  The water and sewer connections were located on the wrong side of the camper for us to use. (And of course we were paying for those extra's) Anyway, we decided to just put up with it for one night and didn't want to waste time arguing with the staff there. It was already 5:30pm so we grabbed our bottles of water, cameras and head for the shuttle bus pick up location. It was a nice drive into town and soon we were let off at one end of the main Las Vegas strip (next to the former Barbaray Coast) and began our walking tour.  Bob has been there several times so had lots he wanted to show me. We explored a few of the casinos and then had to catch the shuttle back to Sam's Town.  The last shuttle back was at 9:30pm so we really didn't have much time in town the first night.  But it was enough to make my feet start hurting. 

 When we got back to Sam's we went in there to check it out.  There's this huge atrium area (I think about 9-10 stories high) with a big water feature where they show a fantastic light show...I think 4-5 times a day. It was very a beautiful and moving show.  I loved all the little shops around the atrium area.  We had dinner here and then headed for the camper.  The next morning, we got our showers and checked out of the RV park and parked the truck in the casino's RV parking area.  From there we took the shuttle back into town and continued our investigation of the various casinos.  My feet were really killing me by the late afternoon and Bob was looking in one of the casinos for the display of one million dollars.  I was really whining and at that point could care less about seeing one million dollars unless it made my feet not hurt.  Anyway, he finally said "you just sit here and I'll go look for it and I'll come back and get you."  So I sat down at a slot machine to rest my feet and people watch.  I finally turned around and saw that the machine was a 25 cent machine, so I thought...what the heck...I'll put in a dollar and see what happens.  Just as I put my dollar in, Bob came back and said "no don't just put in 1 dollar, put in at least 2."  Well, it was too late because I pushed the button and the machine was spinning.  And guess what ?  It landed on all the right things and I won $120.  WOW !! Needless to say, I cashed it in and that was the last of my "gambling" in Las Vegas.  So he found the million dollar display and we continued on.  We ate lunch in New York, New York's food court...such wonderful food and lots of choices at all the different little places.  Then we got to the Venetian and I was stunned.  It is so beautiful !  I loved the outdoor canal with the gondola's and the boatmen singing.  When we entered the building and finally got thru the gaming area we entered the Grand Canal shops.  Oh my gosh...such elegant places.  There was one perfume place where I sprayed a tester on my wrist and later that night wished I could go back and buy whatever it was I sprayed (although I'm sure it was way out of my price range.) We listened to the opera singers and different musicians strolling thru the area.  It was so beautiful, it was just overwhelming.  Since the canal comes thru the building, the gondolas were continually going by us as we strolled along.   We then made our way thru the Coke & M & M shop, went down to see the pirate ships at Treasure Island (however, we didn't stay long enough to see their nightly battle) and finally Bob's feet were wearing out too, so we climbed aboard a bus and just sat back and watched the activity from the bus windows.  We went all the way to then end of the bus route and then came back thru town to where the shuttle picked us up for the ride back to the truck.  It was on the bus that we met two sweet ladies from England along with their teenage daughters.  They had come to Vegas for a week and we had fun chatting with them as we rode along.  The day before they had taken a tour bus out to the Grand Canyon where the Skywalk had just opened and all four of them had braved the glass walk.  Once we got back to the camper...we left Sam's Town and headed for a Wal Mart parking lot were we parked for the night.  Both of us totally exhausted.  One really needs more than a day and a half to see Las Vegas leisurely.  If I ever went back, I would want at least 3-4 days so we didn't have to wear ourselves out, practically racing thru each casino, to see eveything.  There were many we never even got into.

My prayers that night were for my feet..hoping they would totally recover and I wouldn't be crippled for life.  But it had been a fun day.  I have some advice for the town of Las Vegas though; you need to put in more water fountains.  I was glad I carried my plastic bottle of water in my tote bag.  It was a warm day and we both got very thirsty during the day.

Until next time........Linda

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Beautiful Sunny Day in the Pacific Northwest

I spent most of the day running errands.  With the soaring gas prices, I decided to do everything in one day, making a big circle thru the community stopping here and there to get my errands accomplished. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm enough to use the A.C. in the car.   I bought more bedding plants this afternoon, so can do some more planting the next few days.  Yesterday, I planted a few geraniums and lobelia in hanging baskets.  As I drove into the mobile home park where I live I marveled at the beauty of all the shrubs and plants right now.  So I came home & grabbed my camera and drove back thru the park and took a few pictures to share.  This park has 160 spaces and was laid out in the 1960's.  Whoever did the planning did a marvelous job.  There are so many trees of various varieties, every space has at least one Japanese maple of some sort.  Mine is more of a tree and others are low growing shrub types.  There are rhododendrons, of every size and color throughout the entire park.  The rhododendron is the state flower here in Washington state, so the literally grow like weeds.  I have two in my yard and each year I really have to prune them back so they don't completely cover my house.  Also, almost every space has at least one lilac tree, and several azaelasProbably 95% of the people here keep their yards in good order.  We are required to keep our lawns mowed and if the management sees a yard that's unkept, they leave a notice giving them so many days to mow or clean up, whatever....and if the resident doesn't comply, the management will send someone to do the job and then bill the resident for the work done.  A lot of people, like my next door neighbor, have taken out their grass and put a barrier down and put in rocks or beauty bark...because that of course in the long run is less maintainence.  But, like my neighbor...they also have nicely trimmed hedges, and the other shrubs that we all have.

On another note...Charlie Gibson the ABC evening newscaster from New York, is broadcasting from Seattle for a few days, so if you think of it...turn into ABC evening news and you can see Charlie broadcasting from the outdoor deck at KOMO TV in Seattle.

After a long (way too long) friend Barbara and I are going to a movie Friday.  I think it's been a couple months since we've been able to do that.  Anyway, I think we're going to see "Georgia Rule" starring Jane Fonda, Felicity Huffman & Lindsay Lohan.   If anyone wants to join us, be at my house about 12:30pm and we'll all go together......

I'm so glad to hear that the horrible Los Angeles wild fire is close to being contained.  It has been burning very close to the Los Angeles Zoo and one of my favorite places...Griffith Park. 

I've been distressed that Ms Gabi has been shedding so much.  It seems I vacuum and I hardly get the vacuum cleaner put away and there are little patches of grey or white hair on the carpet.  I know she'd shedding her winter coat (even though she's an indoor cat) and her fur is adapting for the warmer temperatures.  Well, after a whole lot of brushing (which did absolutely no good) guess who had a bath the other day?  She was not happy and she meowed louder than I have ever heard in the past.  I had special cat shampoo recommended by her vet and the water was warm, I spoke softly to her but she still howled.  I had a pile of towels and after I got her rinsed off, wrapped her all up and snuggled her like a baby.  I finally got her dry and she was so fluffy looking...but still I find a little fur here and there.  At least she wasn't mad at that's good.

Well, that's all for time, I'll tell you about the Las Vegas experience.    Until then...........Linda


Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Part Five of a 35 Day Journey

We arrived in Pahrump late in the afternoon.  When we came into town, we were starving so stopped at the local McDonald's and had a "fine" meal.  Actually, their salads are very good & I was dying for a salad.  We then went over to the Wal Mart, where I had the first 188 pictures printed. 

The next morning we woke to a beautiful sunny day, it wasn't real hot and there was a nice breeze blowing.   We went into Terrible's for breakfast  (they have great & inexpensive food by the way) and they sat us next to this other couple.  We got to talking (rather I got to talking to them, Bob doesn't do that. My kids used to get upset with me because I'd always talk to the person behind me in the checkout line at the grocery store & I still do.  LOL)  Anyway, this other couple were from Utah or somewhere in that area and were also on a little road trip. It came out that we were from Washington state and they lit up and said, "wow..that's great, we're moving to Castle Rock this fall."  Castle Rock, Washington is a couple hours south of here.  What a small world.

 The camper has two propane tanks in a compartment in the back that supply fuel to the stove top & oven, the water heater, the refrigerator and the wall furnace (for those cold desert nights).  One of them had a broken valve or something and Bob checked before we left and all the guy wanted to do was sell him a new tank for $120.  When we got gas in Pahrump ($2.91) he also had the one good propane tank filled up.  And asked the station attendant if there was somewhere in town he could get a new valve for the other tank.  The man referred us to a RV supply place, so we went there and they referred us on to a propane place.  When we got there, the man came out and looked at the tank and said he could fix problem.  But, he was on his way to a service call and asked us to come back in about an hour or so.  As were were driving down the street,we saw the library, so we stopped there and both of us got on their computers to check email, etc.   Anyway, when it was time we drove back to the propane place and the man quickly replaced the leaking/broken valve and filled the tank all for $37.  Bob couldn't believe he almost paid $120 for a new tank (and it would have been empty) when all the time all the old tank needed was a quick fix.

I'm sure at one time, Pahrump was a small town, but it seems to be really growing.  There's new construction everywhere you look....and it's in such a great location, right smack in the middle between Death Vally and Las Vegas. I think if I were going to move to Nevada, I would certainly give Pahrump serious consideration.

By 3pm we were on our way to Las Vegas...I was so excited because this was going to be my first visit there.  I wanted to see if it's true that "what happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas."

Until next time....Linda

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Part Four of a 35 Day Journey

Easter Sunday morning found us waking up in the campground in Death Valley.  It was our goal to drive thru it as neither of us had been there before and we wanted to see this Death Valley we had heard about.  We didn't take many "side trips" in the valley because we knew that would take longer and since it was so hot and we had no air conditioning, we didn't want to be totally miserable.  The drive thru the "Artists Palette" area for instance was 16 miles off the main road but well worth the drive.  We would have loved to have gone to Emigrant and other areas but they were really off the beaten path so skipped them.   We had left the campground at 7:30am and didn't climb out of Death Valley until after 4pm.  So as it was, it was a long day.

The Furnace Creek Resort is truly a fabulous place. There are lovely cabins, green grass, tennis courts, laundromat, service station (gas was $4.91 a gallon...we got 5 gallons, enough to get us out of the Valley), a post office, golf course and an air strip to get there.  I would love to go back there and stay for a few days.  We had our Easter Brunch in the Forty-Niner Cafe'.  I have included a picture of the tables & the chairs, they were so unique.  And the food was delicious. 

The Borax Museum was another interesting place at the Furnace Creek location.  I am old enough to remember Ronald Reagan in those old 20 Mule Team Borax TV commercials.  This museum is the oldest structure in Death Valley, built around 1883.  It was moved to it's present location in 1965 by the Borax Company.  The famous 20 mule team wagons hauled the processed borax 165 miles across the desert to the railroad at Mojave.  (I can't even imagine what it was like for those men who made that trip over and over again.)

The Devils Golf Course was another interesting spot in the Valley.  Lumpy and bumpy is the only way to describe this landscape.  I wonder if any covered wagons came over this area ?   It would have been enough to jar your teeth loose.  You could hear the tiny pops and pings as billions of the salt crystals contracted and expanded in the heat of the day.  It sounded like someone rattling a piece of tin or sheet metal.

Death Valley gets an average of 1.9 inches of rain per year. Occuring usually in October.  Some years of course there is more rain and it's not unusual for roads to wash out, etc. They say that in spring after an unusually  wet fall & winter, the wild flowers are really spectacular.  We saw very few, the 2006 fall & winter rainfall  must have been normal.

The gift shop at Furnace Creek had many interesting booklets for sale of different historical stories that have occured in Death Valley.  The one that caught my eye was called "Julia, Death Valley's Youngest Victim & The Heroic Rescue of the Stranded 1849ers."  (All one book) It is only 52 pages...a short read but very interesting.  If anyone is interested in this book, contact me by email and I'll give you the information on the inside cover.  The people listed may be able to help you obtain a copy. 

Sunday afternoon as we began to climb out of Death Valley, we were so glad we had taken the time (and the heat) to venture into this remarkable area.  But, we were also anxious for lower gas prices, and cooler temperatures.  The town of Pahrump, Nevada was to be the next stop on our journey.  I was talking to a friend of mine that night on my cell phone and she made me repeat the name "Pahrump" several times...then said "I've never heard of it...what's there?"  Well, it was a charming town and I'll talk about that and show you some pictures next time.

Until then.......Linda

Monday, May 7, 2007

Postage Rates Going Up

I had heard it was coming but today I was in the Post Office and saw the official sign.  First Class postage rates will be 41 cents as of 12:01am Monday May 14. 2007.  I'm sure other classes of mail will go up also, they don't usually just raise First Class and leave the others alone. 

I looked it up and the last postage rate hike we had was January 8, 2006.  That's when First Class went up from 37 cents to 39 cents.  So we haven't even gone 18 months without an increase, this time.

Several years ago I saw a world wide postage chart and at that time the U.S. still had the lowest rates and probably the best service.  I have friends in northern Alberta Canada and their mail service has always been horrible and their rates have always been high.

Anyway, use up those 39's or plan on buying a bunch of 2 cents stamps.  Bob bought stamps the other day and they sold him a book of  39 cent Christmas stamps...I guess they were trying to get rid of them.  I thought that was pretty funny.  

P.S.  it's quite warm here in the Pacific Northwest today.  Up over 70 degrees....that's a good thing.  I have the windows open and the fans going.