Shakin’ Up The Jello

The good news…is that we’ll have plenty of time here in Cody WY to explore northwest WY and spend some more time in Yellowstone National Park.

The bad news…is that we’ll have plenty of time here in Cody WY to explore northwest WY and spend some more time in Yellowstone National Park.

After Neil’s ER trip and discovery of the kidney stone on Friday night…we had to wait until today to contact the urologist to see what treatment was needed

Neil explained to his assistant on the phone about our schedule and what had happened so far…she talked the doctor and his original recommendation was that since it was not causing pain and was not blocking anything we could just wait until we got back home and then get it taken care of unless we could stay here for a month to a month and a half. Neil said does that mean basically not get this treated until November…she had some more consultation with the doctor and he recommended getting it fixed now…waiting until November was longer than he felt comfortable with.

So…we set up an appointment for a consult visit with him for next Wednesday…yup, 9 days from now but that was the first appointment she had available (or at least the first one for something that he didn’t define as an emergency I guess).

With that in mind…we talked to the office staff here at Cody Trout Ranch and extended our stay through July 31…and they know and are comfortable with giving us a monthly rate for the site we’re in if needed after that…assuming we use the full 1.5 months after July 31 that will put us out of here about September 15…which means we’ll end up cancelling the remainder of the eastbound portion of US-50…but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. We went ahead and cancelled our reservations at campgrounds for our next two stops in Thermopolis and Douglas…and will cancel more as needed once we see the doctor next week and have more information.

So I guess we’ll plan on doing some fun stuff the remainder of this week and early next week.

The only thing we’ve done in the Fun Stuff© arena since my last post was last night’s visit to the Cody Night Rodeo. This is a professional rider nightly rodeo and it turned out to be a pretty great show…but it’s not up to the level we’ll expect to see next year at the Calgary Stampede.

After a dinner of grilled pork country ribs we headed off about 13 miles south from the campground to the rodeo grounds on the other side of Cody. The show started promptly at 2000 and ran for about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Neil was actually amazed at how well these photos came out…since he needed to use ISO 12,800 for most of them as it was dark and he needed a high shutter speed to freeze the action. There’s a little grain and noise in them…but that’s to be expected for high ISO low light photography.

Bare back bucking bronco riding.

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This guy didn’t win.

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Every rodeo needs a clown and this guy was actually pretty funny and entertaining.

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Calf roping…these horses are well trained and once the calf is roped and the cowboy jumps off it backs up to keep a strain on the lasso until he gets it on the ground and then stops and maintains tension while he ties the 4 legs together.

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More bucking bronco riding…but this style uses saddles instead of being bare back.

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This cowboy was the winner of the event.

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Barrel racing for the cowgirls…oops, she lost her hat.

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And bull riding.

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Needless to say…this one wasn’t the winner either.

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There was also junior steer riding…which involved a youngster riding a steer instead of a bull but otherwise it was like bull riding. There were 5 contestants…none stayed on longer than about 2-3 seconds and in fact 2 of them came off as the steer left the chute. The three that didn’t fall off immediately…one got stepped on after she fell 4 feet and landed on her back, another got kicked in the wrist as he fell off, and the third came off and face planted. They were protected by full face helmets, gloves, and flak jackets…but the age bracket looks like it ran from 6 up to about 10…after watching 3 of the 5 get hurt and then get up, stagger a few steps, fall, and repeat I wonder what those parents were thinking.

We would do it again…actually we will be doing it again since we’re doing a mini NHOG meetup at the Calgary Stampede next July.

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 4 Comments

Cody WY

Buckle your seatbelts boys and girls…this one will be a long one. It covers our 2 day transit from Idaho Falls ID via West Yellowstone MT to Cody WY…including our first ever combined Travel/Fun Stuff© Day (well, with the exception of a couple of drive-by’s that don’t really count because I said so), and our really neat day trip yesterday through Dead Indian Pass and over the Beartooth Highway.

Two housekeeping items for you first though…first up is that this blog now supports secure or https:// connections in addition to non secure http:// connections so if you prefer to use that for security go ahead. You might get a notice the first time to accept the certificate from tls.automattic.com issued by Let’s Encrypt Authority X3 the first time you try that. Go ahead and trust the certificate in your browser if you use https connections. Second…I figured out a way…actually somebody that knows how to code html told me how to do it as I can spell html but not code it…anyways whereas before whenever I posted a video if you click on it your browser went to that page and you had to hit Back to get back to the blog…alternatively you could right click on the link and select Open in a new tab or Open in a new window and it would do so. Now clicking it should automatically open the video in another tab leaving the blog open in the original tab…so you don’t have to do the right click and select option any more.

First up though…we discovered last night (Friday) at about 2300 that Neil has a kidney stone in his right kidney…we guess it finally got fed up and decided to keep up with the Joneses as the left one had a stone 10 or 12 years back. He was peeing brown and had some lower back pain so we went over to the ER where they gave him a CAT scan…it was a Siamese…and told him that he had this kidney stone. The good news is that it isn’t really hurting him, just a little low grade back ache periodically. The bad news is that the reason it’s not causing him pain is that at 7x7x5 millimeters in size…it’s too big to pass the normal way which is what causes the acute pain of most kidney stones. The other bad news is that since it is too big to pass normally…something else has to be done about it. At this point we have no real idea what that is. He’s got contact information for the one and only urologist here in Cody WY and we’ll contact them on Monday to see when/if we can get an appointment to figure out the next steps. Of course…we’re supposed to leave here Tuesday for the even smaller town of Thermopolis WY then head to the in between size town of Douglas on Saturday. Once we have some idea on what the treatment will be and how long it will take to both get it done and recover…we’ll adjust our schedule as needed to accommodate things…the next real date we actually need to be somewhere isn’t until August 18 when we need to get to Junction City KS to get our passenger side rear skirt fixed after it’s encounter with the ditch almost a month back in CA. The CT scan that found the stone also verified that the rest of his innards are pretty much fine. Enough of that though…more details to follow on treatment and followup when we actually know something.

We left Idaho Falls last Wednesday morning for a 2 day transit…90ish miles to West Yellowstone MT over Targhee Pass which is actually not much of a pass as passes go then another 340 miles from there over to Cody WY. We elected not to take the shorter 150 mile route straight east through Yellowstone National Park…there is some construction on the park roads, they’re pretty narrow and curvy, the likelihood of bear jams (or moose or bison or whatever jams) as idiots just abandon their cars in the middle of the road to take phone photos of wildlife that’s 300 yards away out in the distance so all they get is bear dots (or moose or whatever) in their photos, and it’s the middle of July so there’s just way too much traffic in the park. We figured that mileage wise it was farther to go around the north side of the park but time wise it was pretty much a wash and aggravation wise the northern route was definitely superior. In retrospect…heading up to West Yellowstone in the first place was not the optimum thing we could have done…if we had been smarter we would have done it differently in the first place. Ah well…such is life.

Anyways…since we only had a short first day…we took the opportunity to stop by Lower Mesa Falls and Upper Mesa Falls which are located…amazingly enough…on Mesa Falls Parkway just east of US-20 as it heads north towards West Yellowstone MT.  Here are some photos of the views.

Lower Mesa Falls was the less impressive of the two. As you can see…it’s about 700 feet down in the gorge and although we could have hiked down to the spot on the right side of the top…it was 4 miles round trip and 700 feet down and back up…and we didn’t have either the time or the ambition to do that. You can only see the top portion of the falls, about1/3 of it is out of sight behind the trees as the river then heads left out the bottom of the frame behind the trees. Looking down on it like this…it’s hard to get a really good image…but hey, it’s a waterfall so we needed to stop.

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We then drove another mile upstream and pulled into the Upper Mesa Falls visitor center…this was more difficult to get into than Lower which was a nice little pull out from the highway. Upper however…was about a mile down a steep curvy road to get to the parking lot. Bad news…it was downhill and curvy. Good news…it got us right to the lip of upper falls and we got very nice photos both from the lip and from a little downstream. This is a really nice fall at about 120 feet high and the flow was pretty high so there was a lot of spray coming off of it.

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We arrived in West Yellowstone and pulled into our site at the West Gate KOA…after a brief detour through the Mountain View KOA a couple miles west of West Gate…we were heading east on 20, Connie saw the KOA sign and pulled in before Neil could tell her on the radio it was the wrong one. We did a quick loop around the office building and went back out then continued east another 1.5 miles to our actual campground. After a minimal setup…we did nothing in the afternoon but did head into town in the evening to eat at the Slippery Otter Pub where we had a brew and a pizza.

Thursday morning we were out of the campground by 0800 and headed east to downtown West Yellowstone…then north to I-90 via Bozeman and Billings MT then south to Cody WY. It was a nice stress free albeit somewhat long drive. Once we got to Cody Trout Ranch Campground…we pulled in and got setup…then since neither of the adults was feeling very well just had some pasta with garlic, butter, and cheese for dinner. After that…we fell asleep watching TV before waking up just enough to crawl into bed.

Friday we headed out about 0900 for our 130 or so mile round trip from Cody northwest into the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park via the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and Dead Indian Pass…then back out eastward via the Beartooth Highway…which naturally goes through the Beartooth Mountains…to Red Bluff then south back to Cody. This is supposed to be one of the prettier and most dramatic drives in the US…we all agreed that it was way up at the top portion of the list.

Chief Joseph was the last chief of the Nez Perce and led them on an ultimately unsuccessful 1200 mile fighting retreat towards Canada in the 1877 Nez Perce War. They transited over 8,000 foot high Dead Indian Pass…the only route through the mountains down into the Yellowstone area…in hopes of joining up with the remaining other bands of Nez Perce and their allies. Blocked at the western side of Yellowstone…they turned north and eventually surrendered just 40 miles from the Canadian border. Despite the surrender agreement which specified they could return to the reservation they had left…the band was sent to the southern great plans reservations…another in the long line of less than honorable treatment of Indians by our government. Dead Indian Pass was so named because the band had to abandon several severely injured braves at the top of the pass…those wounded either died or were killed by the pursuing cavalry.

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Panoramic view to the south of the valley and ridges leading up to the pass. There was a considerable amount of really spectacular views on the way up the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway.

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Views from the top of Dead Indian Pass.

Looking westward towards the Yellowstone Basin…the road you see is the one we eventually passed down on our way northwest…7% grade for 15 miles before it levels out again.

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Looking back to the southeast where we came from.

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Normal sized chipmunk…you’ll see later why I called this one normal.

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We passed over the gorge of the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River…which has been designated “forever wild”…whatever that really means…by Congress.

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Along the Byway…we spotted this sign…which reminded Neil of the old Eagles song…you know the one…it’s got the line that goes “you can’t hiiiide your lying’ signs”. Not a darned deer to be found anywheres.

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Towards the north end of the byway, right before it intersects the Beartooth Highway…we spotted this peak and said to ourselves…that’s why they’re named the Beartooth Mountains.

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Then again…the same mountain next to the Beartooth All American Road sign…looks like we were right.

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Unfortunately…there’s a different pinnacle farther to the east the was named Bear Tooth by the Indians that is supposedly the actual namesake peak for the mountains…we saw that pinnacle later on and we all thought this one was much more suggestive of a bear both than it was…but then we did not get to see the actual one from the best angle based on where the highway goes.

We stopped at Lake Creek Falls for some photos.

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This store/motel/gas station claims to be the Top of the World…but (a) it’s not even at the top of the pass and (b) having been on the real Top of the World Highway up in the Yukon this is clearly a bogus claim.

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We all know there are bear precautions you need to take…don’t leave food out…only camp in hard sided campers…make sure you can outrun your hiking partners…bears have the right of way…but apparently there are special rules if there are grizzly bears around. One of the precautions they tell you to take if you are hiking in bear country is to wear bells, carry bear spray, and keep calling out “hey bear” to alert them of your presence. We read somewhere that the way you can identify black bear poop from grizzly bear poop is that the latter is full of bells and smells like pepper spray.

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This lake is at least 1,000 feet higher than either the Top of the World establishment above and the supposedly summit lake two images back…and we’re 500 or so feet above this lake.

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Connie spotted some sheep…so naturally Neil hiked down a bit with the bird lens to get some photos. He just missed two of the juvenile males practicing fighting each other.

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There were 50 or so in this flock…eating 50 yards from the road.

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This one is farther along in shedding its winter coat.

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And this is what a fat, overfed by tourists in violation of the law chipmunk looks like.

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Edgar Allen Poe must have been here I guess.

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This is the remains of the Smith mine…it was a coal mine that exploded and burned in 1947 killing 74 in Montana’s worst mine disaster. Seam #3 at the mine was destroyed in the blast but the entire mine was closed and never reopened.

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Shortly after the mine site…we finished the Beartooth and headed home…we were originally going to eat at the Edelweis Haus halfway back but we were tired of eating out…so we went home and Neil baked some fish filets for dinner that we had along with leftover baked potato from Outback the other night and leftover broccoli (Connie only) from some other restaurant.

On the way home…we spotted these pronghorns alongside the road…quite close, probably 20 yards away maximum so Neil didn’t even need the bird lens for these shots…we turned around a half mile down the road and came back. Neil stopped in the middle of the completely deserted highway and we got some shots…we carefully did not get out of Li’l Red as that woulda spooked them. As it was…they definitely alerted to our present and these two bucks watched us like a hawk until we were done taking photos with the female a little farther away and mostly ignoring us.

As I discussed in my post 2 years back when we last saw these beautiful and really fast creatures…they are frequently called pronghorn antelope but that is incorrect. They are not antelope at all…those live in Africa. They’re just pronghorns…and their closest living relatives are giraffes and okapi. They fill the same ecological niche as true antelope in Africa do and look similar, hence the incorrect name. Pronghorns can run up to 55 miles and hour for a half mile and keep up 35 for 4 miles…making them the second fastest land mammal in the world behind the cheetah but the fastest in the Western Hemisphere…but they can keep up their speed far longer than a cheetah can. In addition…their antlers aren’t true antlers that shed annually like most similar animals…there is a bony core that is permanent and part of the skull with an outer sheath very similar to fingernails…the sheath sheds and regrows annually for the rutting season. At full speed…each stride is as much as 24 feet. The solo shot is a female…you can tell by the smaller size and the antlers without the forward facing prongs which give the animal its name…this grouping of 2 males and a female is unusual as usually bucks are solitary but females tend to herd together in small groups. If it was mating season then these two could be courting the same female…but that isn’t until the fall and it’s only mid July. They’re good eatin’ too…Neil had some once and it is very similar to venison or elk.

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Just when you thought that politics…Democrats in particular…couldn’t possibly get any dumber…remember how Bernie Sanders protested out at the Walmart shareholders meeting and is all in favor of a $15 an hour federal minimum wage and for unions everywhere?

You can’t make this up kids.

Under the rules are for thee, not me…peasants; policy…turns out that back in the fall he unionized his entire campaign and claimed they were the first campaign to ever do so. Well…according to a report in the Washington Post which you may or may not be able to easily read…his campaign staff is demanding the same $15 an hour “living wage” and 100% paid health care for workers earning under $60K that he says he will implement as President. Well…the campaign says “that will make us non-competitive and jeopardize our ability to get our message out” and is refusing to renegotiate the salaries or change the work rules. Apparently the staff is paid a fixed salary based on $15/hour over a full year…but then after they agreed to that salary their working hours were raised from 40 to 60 hours a week which means their actual wage is less due to the mandatory unpaid overtime. Talk about hoisted on your own petard…of course this hypocrisy is lost amid the hero worship of the posse or squad or whatever they call themselves. 

Here is the link. 

Of course…the other side does stupid stuff like this too…but it seems our socialist friends are shooting themselves in the foot with maximum effectiveness.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

As you know…chutzpah is a word meaning nerve or gall. One of our readers forwarded this example to me.

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Sometimes…the thought doesn’t count.

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Harley Davidson Motorcycles sales have fallen precipitously over the past couple of decades. They commissioned a study to find out why millennials and whatever came after them aren’t buying them. Here are the answers.

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Only people the adults age will get this one. It depicts what Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin found on the moon.

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And finally…the difference between a 6.4 earthquake and a 7.9 earthquake in Alaska.

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Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 4 Comments

Idaho Falls ID

First up today…a little story about transition. Nope…not that whole gender transition thing…there are only 2 of those, they’re determined at conception by whatever DNA you have, and you can’t change the one you are. We’re talking about RVing transition…and nope again, not ours but some friends.

We’ve got two very good friends that we met RVing…way back when we first attended Howard and Linda Payne’s educational rally back in 2011 we met these folks and after we bought our New Horizons we asked them some questions as they’ve decades of RV experience…then lo and behold they bought themselves a New Horizons too…they may have seen ours and it gave them an idea or maybe not (probably the latter…they’re pretty good about researching things on their own and making up their own minds). A few years later we both bought RAM 5500HD trucks with Classy Chassis hauler beds with ours being delivered 4 months or so later than theirs. We’ve seen them at multiple New Horizons rallies, 2 of Howard and Linda Payne’s rallies, and went to Alaska with them as well as the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. They’ve even visited us down in Fort Myers during the winter and we’ve been to their house as well…and we’ve fixed many a problem on various rigs at the various rallies we’ve been to. They’re not full timers…still owning a sticks and bricks house…but for the past few years have been on the road 4 or so months a year on fairly extended trips. They’re definitely not weekenders…we’ve always called them part time full timers because when they’re on the road it’s not just a week or two…but a more extended period which although it isn’t 12 months a year in the RV it’s extended enough so the lifestyle they follow on the road is similar to what a lot of full timers do.

Anyway…they’ve sold both their New Horizons and their RAM 5500HD…both to friends that we both have known for years. They’re not sure exactly what the transition will entail…whatever is to follow hasn’t  been fully determined. But they’re happy, the new owners of their rig and truck are happy, and we’re happy for them as well…and that’s pretty much all that counts.

That got us sort of thinking about our own eventual transition…when and to what is still undetermined so don’t read any more into this than random speculation. Neil’s guess is that we’ll stop full timing before we get to as old as our friends are now…so that’s probably 7 or so more years on the outside. It could be as little as 2…as we’ve got the next two summers at least cocktail napkin planned out…and obviously it depends on our continuing good health. How many more than 2…who knows? We know we still want to visit some other places besides the US of A…there are lots of places and things we want to see that have water between us and them so we’ll have to get on an airplane to get there…and we want to do that before the inevitable body decline that we all get eventually. Connie mostly agrees…he thinks…with him on general plan but I don’t think she’s yet tried to assign any numbers to it. It could be that we eventually get a smaller RV and tow vehicle as there are places we would like to go park that our New Horizons just won’t fit…how that fits into the time available after we schedule 2 or 3 or whatever international trips every year and have some time at home in whatever we live in next…well all of that is still under what we used to call “dynamic observation” back in the Navy days.

So…enough of that. I just wanted to acknowledge our treasured friendship with the folks I talked about above and then that segued into their transition and thence into ours…another of those gosh darned ratholes I’m always looking for.

Anyways…after our 3 night stay in Boise…we headed out early Sunday morning for the 250 mile trip over to Idaho Falls. It was 2 lane highway almost the whole way with a few spots on some of the grades having a passing lane…some curves but by and large the curves were not really slow down curves so we pretty much stayed at our normal 64 mph except on the uphill grades and there were plenty of spots for faster traffic on the 70 mph limit road to pass.

Neither Connie or Neil felt very well in the morning…so we skipped lunch and just grazed on some snacks…arriving with just 3 stops around 1500 at Snake River RV Campground in Idaho Falls where we quickly got pulled in and setup in a long gravel pull through site R10. 

Nobody felt like going out for dinner even though it was a travel day…so Neil just baked a couple of shepherd’s pies we picked up from Walmart a couple of grocery trips ago…we had never seen them before and like the dish so gave them a try. Mighty tasty…needed a little salt on the taters on top and next time we’ll add some butter and cheese to the top the last 10 minutes or so of baking time.

Our first stop was at Goodale’s Cutoff…which was a wagon train trail that bypassed part of the Oregon Trail to the south that had heavy Indian activity…named after Timothy Goodale who pioneered the route in 1862. There really isn’t anything to see except the sign that marks the spot…and this is a lousy photo but it was mostly blocked by the first entitled butthead of the day…a guy in a class C RV who parked (a) right in the middle of the pullout instead of to one end so that another RV could get in as well…Neil ended up parking inside him next to the road and would have blocked his exit except we didn’t stay long.

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There are…supposedly…some old wagon tracks still visible down there…but all we could see was water and lava type rocks.

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Continuing on eastward a few miles…our next stop was Craters of the Moon National Monument…we had been there back in ’77 when Neil was stationed here for his nuclear prototype training but wanted to get the stamp in our passport (which we did) and watch the movie (which we didn’t since nobody felt good and there was another 20 minutes before it started. The place was jammed anyway…and the RV spots were full of entitled buttheads who left their cars there…Neil ended up parking in a pullout just outside the visitor center entrance off of the highway and walking into the center. It was hot, it was 7,000 feet elevation, and we felt poorly so we moved along to our final stop.

Last stop was just a drive by…we were originally going to come back out to Arco to see this…but that’s 50ish miles from Idaho Falls so when we drove by it Connie pulled off for some photos…Neil found a convenient gravel area just down the road and waited.

Located in the small town of Arco Idaho…which is about 15 miles from the old Nuclear Prototype Training Unit site which I guess is the reason it ended up here…is the sail (what used to called the conning tower on WWII submarines) of the USS Hawkbill SSN 666…known throughout the fleet as the “Devil Boat”. She was built just one hull number after Neil’s second submarine USS Guitarro SSN 665 and is a Sturgeon class SSN some 300 feet long.

So…wheat’s the difference between a sail and a conning tower? In the olden days…the conning tower which sticks up above the deck was where the skipper and attack party conned (or steered) the boat from. It was watertight and had the bridge on top of it and when the periscope was raised for attack observations the bottom of the periscope was at eye level in the conning tower. Here’s a photo of a Gato class WWII submarine.

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The Conning tower you can see is about 30 feet long and 8 or so feet wide…with the majority of it being a water tight compartment. Periscope shears or supporting structure stuck up above that and the bridge is just to the left of the shears. The periscopes themselves were unprotected from water flow when lowered except for the shear structure…but since the maximum submerged speed was pretty slow for a diesel powered submarine that was fine.

When nuclear submarines came about with their much higher submerged speed…protecting the periscopes, radio antennas, and other masts from damage by flowing water at high speed became an issue…along with flow noise caused by irregularities in the outer structure of the submarine…so the sail was invented. Deck guns were no longer needed so their drag and noise inducing shapes were likewise eliminated.

The sail on a modern submarine is mostly not water tight… there is a 4 foot diameter vertical cylinder known as the bridge trunk in the forward part of the sail but it’s mostly used to just get the conning officer when surfaced up above the water about 20 feet or so…since the ship is rarely surfaced the conning party for surfaced operations is smaller than in an old diesel boat which spent the majority of it’s time on the surface. The sail is actually smaller than the old conning tower was…20 feet high, 5 feet thick, and 30 feet long.

The sail itself looking from the top is tear drop shaped…this is done to minimize drag and noise, and all of the remaining part of the sail aft of the bridge trunk is open to the ocean and floods when the ship is submerged, that space is reserved for the periscopes, masts, and antennas when they are lowered.

The old bow planes that a diesel submarine had were moved to the sail…and then moved back to the bow in 1990 era designs for better under the ice performance. The sail planes rotate up and down 30 degrees in normal operation but rotate to vertical in what is known as the under-ice position for surfacing through the ice pack…normal surfacing operations are allowed up to 6 feet of ice but emergency limits are somewhat above that.

You can make out a few features on the sail…the ladder on the starboard (right side that only goes down to the plane where a lookout is placed for port entry/exit evolutions. The corresponding ladder on the port side that you can’t see goes all the way down to deck level. Since the deck is only 3 feet or so out of the water out in the open ocean…there is a safety track along the port side and personnel on deck wear a harness that is hooked into the track. The little bump up on top of the said is the underwater telephone transducer. Just forward of the 666 numbers…which are no longer painted onto the sail and hasn’t been painted on since sometime before 1978…Hawkbill was commissioned in 1971 and wikipedia has a photo with the number painted on but the practice was stopped by 1978 when Neil got to his first ship…is the side running light for surface operations which retracts to eliminate flow noise when submerging. At the front of the sail just about even with the planes you can see the rectangular under ice sonar dome which extends around to the other side as well. There are some other features that he can identify…but I would have to shoot you if he told you.

Sail equipped submarines are conned when submerged and attacks conducted from the control room which is located just below the sail, the periscope when extended sticks about 17 feet above the sail with the eyepiece then located about 6 feet below the bottom of the sail int the control room. Modern submarines would rarely…at least that’s the standard guidance although the only war shot torpedo fired by a nuclear submarine was the one that sank the Argentine cruiser during the Falklands War and it was fired the old fashioned periscope bearings method due to rough seas…anyway they are supposed to rarely attack from periscope depth and even against a surface ship the approach and attack would almost exclusively be done via sonar sensors. Neil has always thought that the guidance was BS and that most if not all skippers would take at least one look before attacking a surface ship to make sure it’s a valid target and not some innocent or neutral merchant ship. Sure…there are auditory clues that give you about a 98% chance of positively identifying at least the class of ship and in some cases which ship within the class…but in anything less than an all out non nuclear WWIII you don’t want to be the skipper that sinks a neutral ship. Given that…and the increasing attitude from the press to hang people for innocent mistakes…most skippers would likely take at least one look, leaving the better sonar conditions deep to go to periscope depth…that will give you (a) an eye look at the target and submariners train on identifying ship class by silhouette as well as (b) identification of electronic emissions from the target which again help you identify it. Given the longer range that modern torpedoes have…conducting a bearings only periscope approach is less likely since engagement ranges will be significantly longer than WWII submarines. Back then…torpedoes did not home but just went out in a straight line and you had to physically hit the ship with the torpedo before it would explode…this meant that you rarely launched weapons from outside of 1,000 yards or half a mile. With modern homing torpedoes…hitting the target with the torpedo is not the goal…you launch from farther away and the goal of the fire control system is to get the torpedo close enough so that it picks up the target and homes to impact on its own.

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Monday morning we headed off to the Japanese Friendship Garden in downtown Idaho Falls…located in Pederson Park right near the waterfall from which the city derives its name.

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This is just a manmade overflow near the garden…not the actual falls.

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Looking upstream towards the Mormon temple in the background along about 2/3 of the whole waterfall section. Like Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe…this isn’t your traditional waterfall where the river comes up perpendicular to the precipice and then falls over. Rather…the precipice is mostly parallel to the flow of the river and the water angles in to the edge and then (at least from the river’s perspective) sort of falls sideways over the edge. In this view…the river upstream passes very near the temple in the background…this shot is about 30 degrees from being straight up river…you can see the sideways falls geometry pretty easily.

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Panoramic shot of the entire falls area…it’s artificially curved a bit by the panorama process in the iPhone…the edge of the falls is a relatively straight line.

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Neil took a short video of the falls…it is available here

Dinner today…both of the humans felt pretty good…was at the Roadhouse Saloon…which is maybe a 50 yard walk from our site R10…tough commute I know.

We each had a pint of Irish Death…a dark smooth ale at an alcohol content of 7.8 which is pretty high for beer…but it was really more of a porter to our thoughts…from the Iron Horse Brewery…and it was really good. To go along with it…Connie had a garlic-jalepeno grilled cheese and Neil a bacon cheeseburger…he was really looking forward to their garlic cheese steak…but it was Monday and they were out of a lot of stuff. The food was outstanding…the folks in the bar which was really a biker/dive bar…were also outstanding, and the beers were cold so how could one complain. This is the best dive bar we’ve been in many a month…after our dinner, from which we brought home some of Connie’s tater tots for breakfast later in the week…we went back to the house for recliners, TV, and bed.

The bar had three of the best signs we’ve seen in months displayed…Neil and Connie especially liked the first one.

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It is a biker bar after all…so patriotism is naturally pretty high on their list of priorities.

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Sort of a different take on possession of alcohol…we liked it.

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Tuesday morning we had breakfast then headed off for a hike down at Hell’s Half Acre Lava field…it’s about 20 miles south of Idaho Falls on I-15. We had a short navigational error as we punched the GPS and said Go…then about 2 seconds after we made the turn per GPS directions onto I-15 North we figured out we were going the wrong way. So…7 miles up the road we found an exit and got off/on heading south.

The whole area west and south of Idaho Falls is the result of ancient lava flows from the same heat source that also produces the Yellowstone Caldera, the Yellowstone Super Volcano, and the thermal features in Yellowstone. It wasn’t produced by a volcano as one normally thinks of volcanoes with massive eruptions and smoke clouds…but rather by a multiple millennia long series of lava flows at a more sedate pace from cracks in the mantle. Eh…that sounds like a volcano to me…but what do I know. The field ranges up to about a mile thick and has many hundreds of layers. The northern section is preserved as Craters of the Moon National Monument where we briefly visited the other day…if we had more time here and it wasn’t so darned hot and high in elevation we would have gone out there for a visit as we were last there in ‘77.

Hell’s Half Acre is a joint project of the Park Service and the state equivalent and is located at a pair of rest stops on I-15…so it’s an easy visit in and out with a paved 3/4 mile trail through the landscape which is technically defined as high desert…it’s mostly rocky, dry, and hot but the many underground caves, tubes, and eroded lava passages provide plenty of places for wildlife in addition to the plants that have evolved to succeed in this environment.

This eroded crack is about 4 feet deep and 18 inches high at the left end…just one of many thousands of similar formations.

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Some sort of grasshopper family…that’s the best either us or google can do.

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Junipers are the most popular tree type found here.

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Along with common sagebrush…so named because they smell exactly like the fresh herb sage.

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Prickly pear cactus.

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Lots of deep collapse sections where lava pockets formed and then after the surface cooled the lava drained out leaving an open area that eventually eroded enough for the ceiling to collapse. Several of these were 50 yards across and 40 or 50 feet deep.

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Rock wren…along with the grasshopper this was the only sign we saw of wildlife…well we did see some sort of small animal poop but we have no idea what it was from. This guy has breakfast for his chicks in his beak and shortly after this photo flew downing the crevice just below him.

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We spotted this really cool looking dead tree.

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As well as some thistles…which again we were not able to identify any better.

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With that we got to the end of the trail so it was back home for lunch and rest…after a quick stop at Albertson’s to get some pastries for the next two days breakfast on travel day. 

Wednesday we’ll be off 110 miles to West Yellowstone MT straight up US-20 from Idaho Falls for an overnight stop…then Thursday we’ll press on to Cody WY. We decided not to try and take the road through Yellowstone National Park…even though it’s almost 150 miles shorter than going ‘round the long way north of the park we decided that it’s July and 100,000 of our closest friends would also be in the park…and unlike us they will stop for every elk, bear, rabbit, bird, or anything else they see…and none of them will pull out of the road. Nope…this time of year people just stop their cars in the middle of the 2 lane park road and get out for photos then move on. So it’s stop, wait 5 minutes, inch forward 2 or 3 car lengths and then rinse and repeat ad nauseam. We figured it would take at least 3-4 hours to traverse the 80 miles through the park…and by that time we’ll have gone ‘round the north side and be parked sipping a beer in Cody.

I read today on the news that Kamala Harris announced that when she is elected President she will abolish the filibuster in the Senate. Now this woman is a lawyer and a current US Senator…and she doesn’t know that the President has absolutely zero ability to affect Senate rules. So…either she’s completely incompetent…or she is deliberately lying to stir up the liberal base. My guess is that she’s simply lying in an attempt to catch Joe Biden in the polls…after all her lying attack on him over busing during the debate a couple weeks back did gain her a few points…then she quietly the next day said that she agreed with his position. God help the country if the Democrats ever get complete control of both the legislative and executive branches.

Other interesting political news today…the House has condemned the President for his “racist attacks” on the 4 freshman women representatives…ya’ll probably saw that on the news as well. While I agree that his tweets were stupid as 3 of the 4 were born in the US and the other is a naturalized citizen…there was no mention of them specifically or of race in his tweets…but apparently freedom of speech for the Democrats means freedom of speech for speech they like. Where was the hue and cry over Ms. Omar’s anti-Semitic comments awhile back?

Interesting stuff found on the net.

You know what they say about idle hands…

IdleHands

SimpleHomeRemedies

FitToDrive

Bad Ass of the Week…haven’t seen anything in awhile worthwhile for this category.

BadAss

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 2 Comments

Bend OR and Boise ID

Tuesday we got ready and then departed for the 90ish mile drive to Bend OR for a 2 night stay at the Elks Lodge. We were out of the park about 1000 and headed east on US-20. Several folks we’ve seen in the past couple of weeks cautioned us that this road was “terrible” and “not RV worthy”…with the first 35 miles east of Sweet Home supposedly being the worst.

Yeah…it had some curves as it was along the river…and yes it had a mountain pass…but it was only 6% max grade and ol’ Big Red only made it below 45 on a couple of uphill sections and even then only down to 42 or so. Mostly we were in the high 40s to low 50s speed wise and that was driven by the curves and not the grades. We’ve learned that…as opposed to being in a car…when you are pulling the rig the advertised yellow sign speed is usually just about the right speed to go. Connie followed Neil and we only had to pull over into the slow vehicle turnout once…we arrived at the Elks Lodge about noontime and quickly got settled into site 3…a very nice back in with 50 amp power but no water or sewer…since we only had 2 nights Neil just put 65 gallons of fresh into our tank before we left Sweet Home.

We had a cocktail…or two or three…three I think it was…at the lodge bar then went home and had a pot pie for dinner. Our original plan was to visit a couple of walkable to breweries on Wednesday…but Connie wasn’t feeling very well so we shook up the jello and decided to just stay home. She still wasn’t feeling well by evening so we just had some cheese pasta with butter and Parmesan on it for dinner.

Thursday…we had a 320 mile drive…and also would be losing an hour as we went into Mountain Time…and needed to get to our next destination at Gowen Field Fam Camp by 1630 so we could get the key to the utility box from the billeting office. So…we started underway preps at 0700 and were out of the Elks Lodge parking lot by 0805. The first couple of hours were nice…no traffic…but by 1000 the idiots were out in force zipping around you and cutting you off. Roadwise…it was a 2 lane road that was alternately dead straight and curvy through the mountains alongside the river. A couple of minor passes…with passing lanes for faster vehicles…the curved sections were actually worse than the drive from Sweet Home to Bend a couple days earlier but still not that bad at all.

We did stop for one drive by Fun Stuff© on the way…a stop at Malheur Butte…a 25 million year old small volcano alongside what used to be Lake Idaho in eastern OR. It ain’t much…but it was the only thing we saw. It sticks up about 500 feet above the surrounding plains…but really not any more than the other nearby ridges.

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We headed out to a local pizza and brews place for dinner…food was decent but not great…it was something called a Detroit style pizza…that means they take the dough, put the meat and toppings part on it and then the cheese then bake it. The marinara sauce is then added on top of the cooked pizza. Strange…but not bad.

Friday morning we headed out for a tour of the state capitol and lunch downtown.

The capitol building itself

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Center dome.

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Dome in the House chamber.

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Pano shots of the House and Senate chambers.

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Next…we headed off to Bittercreek Ale House for lunch…you can’t see it on the shot below but the glasses say “Good Beer”. Both of the adults had a glass of Blackberry Boom from Meriweather Cider Company located in Idaho. It was really great…Connie had a Caesar salad and cup of Loaded Potato Soup and Neil a cheeseburger…all of the food was likewise really good.

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After that we headed home…and I think we have nothing else to do here in Boise. We’ll do Mass and laundry tomorrow on Saturday but other than that will just laze around…Neil might crawl on the roof early to clean out the coils on the living room A/C unit to help improve its efficiency. Sunday we’ll head to Idaho Falls…with a brief stop at Craters of the Moon National Monument to see the movie and get our National Park Passport stamped. We’ll be in Idaho Falls…where we were 40odd years ago in the fall and winter of 1977/78 while Neil was at the nuclear power prototype in nearby Arco. After a 3 night stay there…we’ll head to West Yellowstone MT for an overnight stop then we’ll skip Yellowstone National Park this time…it’s the middle of July and 250,000 of our closest friends will be there…we’ll head north to I-90, around the park, then back south to Cody WY where we’ll be for 5 nights.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

Only people alive in the ‘60s will likely get this one.

MichaelBoatAshore

Is this a big ol’ space lobstah eating a planet…or just a regular ol’ lobstah sitting in a bucket? Credit for it goes to twistedsifter.com and thence to the reddit user who originally posted it.

GiantSpaceLobstah

Only old people will understand this one…well, not old people actually as old is completely and unequivocally a state of mind…unfortunately one’s body doesn’t really hold up it’s end. Neil stopped at 12…bodily fluid jokes there are still funny at that age…but the ol’ body needs to do its part as well.

WhatInspiresYou

PreviewDocument 2

PreviewDocument 4

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

Day Trips Near Foster For Waterfalls

Sunday morning we had coffee then headed off to Mass at 0900 in Sweet Home OR just next door to Foster Lake Resort. On the way home we stopped and filled Big Red up with diesel…when we leave here for Bend OR on Tuesday there is no fuel, gas, or services until almost into Bend. From there it’s another 320 miles to Boise ID where we’ll fuel again…prices in OR are cheaper than in the DPRC but still more than needed as self serve is illegal in OR…unless you’re pumping diesel or unless you have an aux tank…in those two situations (actually you’re required to in the second) you can pump your own.

We got back to the rig and Neil made us a nice bacon and eggs breakfast…then about 1200 or so we headed off for 2 waterfalls east of here in the Cascade Mountains…and we also got to scope out at least the first half or so of Tuesday’s drive to Bend. We had about an hour drive to the area of the waterfalls…there’s a hike between them but we decided to just drive to both parking areas and take the short walks over to the river.

First up…Sahalie Falls…a very nice 100 foot vertical drop on the McKenzie River. Fortunately…there are well marked viewing areas and mostly the idiots can’t get out onto the rocks near the top…although in both cases there were a couple of them.

Shots of the falls…again the ones with flowing water are Neil’s tripod mounted shots and the more frozen ones are Connie’s.

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Looking into the cauldron at the base of the falls…there was a slight rainbow that was intermittently faintly visible…but none of our photos captured it unfortunately.

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Neil grabbed a short video you can see here.

Next up…about a half mile down the road and maybe 3/4 of a mile as the McKenzie River winds…google tells us it’s only 64 feet high but it actually looks taller than Sahalie…the viewing areas were a little closer so maybe that caused the apparent higher height.

Again…Neil got a short video here.

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As we departed the area…we stopped briefly by Clear Lake…which wasn’t actually very clear…to see what we might see…it’s a relatively small canoe only lake down in a small valley.

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We headed home for dinner…corn and chicken…both done on the barbie.

Monday morning after breakfast we headed off for another couple of waterfalls…our destination was the McDowell Creek Falls…we elected not to do the whole 1.6 mile loop hike as it was pretty steep but did end up doing about 0.75 miles…we walked into the falls from both end parking lots. McDowell Creek is up on the ridges to the north of Lake Foster and there are at least 4 named falls on the creek in the county park there…although only Majestic Falls was really worth it. Several others would have been better with higher flow but Royal Terrace Falls in particular was of limited beauty with the low flow. 

As per usual…we got both flowing and frozen waterfall shots…this is primarily because Connie doesn’t carry her own tripod and thinks that setup and takedown of it is too much bother…so Neil always gets those while she concentrates more on general area including the falls style shots…both kinds usually make it to the blog.

Royal Terrace Falls…119 feet but as you can see it’s pretty low flow here in mid summer…the following shot I got from google was taken in the spring melt season.

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As you can see…much better when there is actually water flowing over it.

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Close up of a side fall.

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Connie’s artsy-fartsy shot.

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Heading back to the parking lot after Royal Terrace…Neil hopped down on the bank and got this very nice 7 foot or so high one just under the bridge across the creek to the parking lot.

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Then turned 90 degrees to the right to get this nice side view of another short drop before the creek leveled out for awhile.

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We drove the mile or so to the upper parking lot and got very nice shots of Majestic Falls…only 39 feet according to the sign but much higher flow. Two different HDR treatments here…one was a 5 bracketed shot series and the second he took 7 bracketed shots. First one processed with his normal Aurora HDR 2019…the second one done in Lightroom just to be different.

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Downstream of Majestic Falls…a couple of small flows over some rocks caught his eye so he shot those as well.

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We hiked back up to the parking lot and headed home…we did spot a yearling whitetail deer on the way back…it was on the unpaved road adventure portion of the tour…but it got away before we could grab the camera…and would have been a photo of it standing on the road anyway.

With that…our work here in Sweet Home/Foster OR is almost done. We’ll wander back over to the Point Restaurant before dinner and get a couple of marionberry cobblers to go and put them in our freezer for later and Neil will pack up the outside this afternoon. In the morning…a 90ish mile drive over US-20 east to Bend where we’ll spend 2 nights at the Elks Lodge there. They don’t take reservations so Neil called over to see how full they might be…there’s only one big rig site left so Neil went ahead and paid the $20 to reserve it for tonight even though we’re not there yet…we’ll still only pay $60 for the 2 nights we’ll actually spend there which is less than the commercial park we would have had to use instead.

Interesting things found on the net.

You should always try to take the boredom out of your job…no matter what it is.

TakeTheBoredomOutOfYourJob

WhatIsCelibacy

Rules for Wiley Coyote.

RulesForWileyCoyote

11B4A607 0D72 4A3C A95D 91DE9EEE3811

EA56B8DE 0E58 41E1 A66B 2E759F999F2F

39C2A083 CC48 4982 B0DC 56390CD371C1

Image001

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

Day Trips Near (Sorta) Foster OR

We had a really great Independence Day…a bottle of wine, some carne asada on the grill, and some marionberry cobbler…the latter was really good…and we only ate about half of the serving we brought home from the other night…leaving the remaining for another night.

***Breaking News***

There has been another earthquake out here on the Left Coast…both in the 7 range…no worries for us as both were down in the LA area in the south of the DPRC…we didn’t even feel them as we’re 700 or 800 miles north. As long as the Yellowstone super volcano doesn’t go off in the next 3 or 4 weeks we’ll be just fine…it is overdue for an eruption based on historical averages but then that has been true for 75,000 years or so. There aren’t any major fires burning in the Pacific Northwest so far…again if we make it another 3-4 weeks we’ll be in Nebraska and pretty much out of fire country. One of our readers asked us if we were heading east yet so I figure I should update ya on that.

***We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post***

Friday morning we had breakfast…cheese pastries we got the other day…and then headed out for some Fun Stuff©. Our first stop was the Fort Hoskins Historic Site…this is the remains…well actually there aren’t any actual remains remaining so it’s just the site where Fort Hoskins used to be. Fort Hoskins was established in the early 1800s to (a) protect settlers to the Oregon territory from the evil natives and (b) to keep the aforementioned evil natives on the reservation…there were a series of treaties between the US government and the local tribes over the years which (a) gradually reduced the land the Indians retained and (b) were all eventually torn up by the US government in order to provide more land for white settlers and take it away from the Redskins…as I’ve discussed before this is not one of the finest moments in our government’s history.

We spent an hour or so wandering the hiking path around the former fort site…although there’s really not much left…once the fort was abandoned in 1865 it fell into ruin and there is nothing left of it today.

There are the remains of a school that was built in 1915 and then abandoned in the 1950s.

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On our walk…we spotted this Red Breasted Sapsucker…a woodpecker variety…Neil tried to tell him “Dude…the chances of finding any bugs to eat in a creosoted telephone pole are zero.” He ignored that advice and kept drilling away.

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Nearby there were some Cedar Waxwings in the trees.

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And Neil spotted this Yellow Spotted Millipede…Connie lost her watch (or so she thought…it was actually found on her nightstand next to the bed later)…and he redid the entire 0.6 mile hike looking for it…didn’t find it (since it was back at home in the rig) but he did spy the millipede…which his iPhone app Seek identified for him.

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Next up was the Hayden covered bridge…which turned out to (a) be a reconstruction of the original early 1900s bridge from the 1980s, (b) not much of a photo op as you could not see the bridge itself except from the end, and (c) we decided the covered bridges out here aren’t nearly as interesting and photogenic as the ones up in the Northeast…we saw two of them today and they’re very similar in construction whereas the New England ones are much more individualized and have more character to them.

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From there…we set off to visit Alsea Falls…this was an add-on to our original plan since Connie found it on the way…it was just a short hike from the parking lot…although there was a 9 mile drive down a banjo-worthy road to get to the parking lot…it wasn’t too tall, maybe 30 feet or so…but we all enjoyed it as it had a lot of character instead of just being a boring single drop. 

Here are a few shots that Neil got with long exposures and his tripod to blur and make the flowing water stand out.

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Connie got a couple with faster shutter speeds to freeze the water…both varieties are nice but Neil likes the flowing ones best.

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On the way back up from the waterfall…Connie spotted these cool flowers…they are known as Wall Lettuce…and are really small being only maybe 3/8 of an inch across the blossoms.

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After that…we punched “Home James” into the GPS in Li’l Red…it routed us another 12 miles down the banjo-worthy road before eventually connecting up to some better roads and then back to Foster. 

We had a shower since we smelled…then headed over to the local Elks Lodge 1972 for Happy Hour and dinner…fried chicken and we ended up with some leftovers for later.

Saturday…we left about 1300 for a day trip over to Newport OR to see Thor’s Hole and have dinner.

Speaking of Newport…and the other city names here in OR…the folks that settled this place either have no imagination whatsoever…or else they have no integrity for doing their own work…as almost all of the place names in the state were ripped off from someplace else.

Anyways…we decided on the way back home that while Thor’s Hole was decent as was dinner…neither was probably worth the 220 mile round trip drive down the curvy mountain roads over to the coast.

Basically…we headed pretty much due west from Foster, past where we were yesterday and than another 45 miles out to Newport…then 25 miles south on US-101 to Thor’s Hole.

This is what it looks look when it’s not quite high tide and when you’re standing back…lots of idiot tourists standing right on the edge.

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Some of the other nearby rocks.

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And these two are closeups of Thor’s Hole itself. You’re probably wondering just what in tarnation Thor’s Hole is…so’s Ima ‘bout to tell ya. What it is is a vital part of the earth’s crust that keeps the land from going under water at high tide. Ya know how your bathroom sink has that little overflow thingy at the top so’s when ya wander off in the middle of shaving…not that bears shave mind ya but ya’ll human critters do…at least Neil used to but not any more…anyways back to that little overflow hole thingy. Well…Thor’s Hole serves the exact same purpose. When it’s almost high tide like it is in these two photos…the waves periodically wash across the top and drain out the bottom. Since it isn’t quite high tide…the drain hole backs up a little…ya can see that in the second photo. In another hour or so…it will be full high tide…and the hole will be under about 2 feet of water…which will continually pour into the hole and down the drain so that the rising tide doesn’t drown the land. Simple eh?

Now don’t ask me where the water goes after it goes down the little…well actually big, about 20 feet across in this case…overflow hole thingy…I got no idea on that…but looking at it it’s pretty darned clear that is what is happening.

There’s a short video Neil took as well…you can view it here. The wave at the end almost got him…came to within just a couple of feet of where he was standing…so he headed back for higher ground.

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We drove the 25 miles back to Newport and headed to Georgie’s Beachside Grill for dinner…Connie had a bowl of chowdah and Neil had a couple of sliders. Both were pretty decent and we washed them down with (respectively) a glass of Chardonnay and a Dark and Stormy. After that…it was about a 2 hour drive home…we stopped for a couple groceries at Walmart on the way and then filled Li’l Red up with gas for tomorrow and Monday’s Fun Stuff©.

Interesting things found on the net.

Ya ‘member this pan or moon image from last time doncha?

MoonOrFryingPan

The frying pan is the middle one in the left column. Lower left is our moon…but that’s the only one I could identify for sure. I was fairly sure but not positive that middle left was the frying pan when I saw the original…and I think the lower middle is Europa. I can’t find where I got the original image again…googling frying pan or moon turns up a half dozen similar grids ranging from half frying pans to all but one being a frying pan…but where I found this one said that the other 8 were moons. Given some of the other photos though…Ima not real sure.

UnderstandingWomen

KnowYourParasites

ChangeSenators

Connie does that genealogy stuff…but Neil doesn’t…he found this ‘splainer chart that will make all that once removed stuff make sense for ya.

CousinExplainer

And finally…

ParentsSpankedMe

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday USA

Happy 4th of July everybody…traditionally observed as the birthday for the country…but more on that a bit later…just wanted to wet y’ur whistle as they say.

First though…our trip from Fairfield CA to Foster OR including our escape from the DPRC, its associated disasters and nanny-state-itis, its high prices, and its mostly intolerant-of-the-views-of-others liberal population. We had a 2 day travel planned with an overnight stop in Yreka CA…as opposed to Eureka CA, there are actually two different cities there that are pronounced the same but with different ways of spelling the word…go figure. The first day we started underway preps about 0800 for a planned 1000 departure…we actually got on the road 10 minutes or so early…we pretty quickly got off the base, onto I-80 for 2 miles then I-505 for 50 miles or so and the remainder on I-5 headed north…all of it in pretty heavy traffic through mostly brown and barren countryside…not really anything worth looking at. We got into some hills in the afternoon as we passed into a more pleasantly green portion around Mount Shasta…so it was slow going up and down. I believe we found every idiot driver in the state that first day…not a drop of blinker fluid among them and absolutely no courtesy to their fellow drivers at all. There was a bit o’ excitement when Connie almost ran out of gas…she hadn’t looked at it until her low gas warning light came on…we pulled off at the first place after that where there was space for the rig and she had about 16 miles of gas remaining according to the dashboard…way closer than it shoulda been. After that…we continued on to our stop at Yreka RV Park just a mile off the freeway and quickly pulled into a beautiful, long pull through full hookup site F2. Since it was just an overnight…we did front jacks, slides, and power and that was the extent of our setup. After resting a bit we headed out to a local place for dinner…we weren’t that hungry so it was a couple of nice brews for us and we split a pair of appetizers…prime rib with mushrooms and potato skins…the former was excellent and we almost said we were done but thought a bit more would be good so we ordered the skins…which turned out to be more like stuffed baked taters instead…way more than we thought it would be so we ended up with leftovers for lunch.

Next morning…we started about 0700 instead of our normal 0800…between that and the minimum underway steps needed we were on the road well before 0800…we figured that being July 3 and the eve of the 4 day weekend it would behoove us to get to our next stop at Foster Lake Campground early so as to avoid the late afternoon post work rush. Again…straight up I-5 although at least the traffic was lighter most of the way. We pulled in around 1430, got checked in, and quickly pulled into our site 58. Since it’s a 6 night stop we did a full setup…then walked next door to the Point Restaurant for dinner…seafood and brews…and we now have a new entry in the “Connie meets the town drunk” category…yup, entry #7 almost 3 years from the previous Mikey at the Down the Street Bar in Casey IL…more on that later too.

Just to independently verify that CA thinks that they’re not part of of the USA and are a separate country known as the People’s Republic of Californiastan (DPRC)…as we passed the border into Oregon…we looked to our left on I-5…and there is a customs station for people entering the DPRC from Oregon. Just like any other state (like NV…there’s a similar station there)…US citizens are not free to enter the DPRC without passing through customs. They don’t check you papers…yet…but you get a whole bunch of questions that do not happen _anywhere else…in the United States of America. According to google…CA would bet the 4th largest economy in the world if they were not a state…so I think it’s time to just let them go and be a sanctuary state, no border controls, liberal bastion, giveaway state with the highest taxes possible instead of part of the US of A.

***Breaking News***

There was a 6.2 earthquake down in southern DPRC just north of LA this morning…for down there 6.2 is pretty small. One guy tweeted about the local news media making a big deal about a bottle of hand sanitizer vibrating across the table with the comment that “always having to manufacture drama must be a living hell.”

***We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post***

Before I get into that whole USA birthday thing…here’s the moon or frying pan photo I promised ya’ll a couple posts back and then plumb fergot to put the darned thing in the post. As I said before…although if you go back and look it don’t say it any more since when Connie noticed the lack of the photo Neil quickly edited the post to try and hide his forgetfulness…this is a series of 9 images. Of the 9…8 are moons within the solar system and the 9th is an image of a frying pan. Your job…should you decide to accept it…or even if ya don’t…is to figure out which one is not like the others…in other words, it’s homework. I’ll let ya’ll know the answer next time…although first correct entry in the comments section will get ya honorable mention in the post…so have at it.

MoonOrFryingPan

Ok…Independence Day…routinely celebrated on July 4th…is universally recognized as the birthday of the country…only actually the truth is a little stranger than that. I s’pose ya could call it the nation’s birthday…but it all depends on how you define the word birthday. So what really happened back in 1776 ‘round this date. 

Well…the US Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress declaring the independence of the 13 colonies from Great Britain. It was ratified on July 4, 1776…hence the celebration today…but was that really the founding of the country? Strictly speaking…I don’t think it was…it was merely the rogue action of a bunch of what the King of England branded as traitors for signing the document. After all…what chance the 13 upstart colonies stand against the might of the mightiest country on earth…why practically none of course. However…although there was mention of the “13 United States of America” in the document…there was effectively not much of a national government until the Articles of Confederation were drafted and sent to the states in late 1777…and they didn’t come into force until 1781 when they were ratified. To my thinking…the ratification of the Articles was when the country could actually be legally stated as coming into existence…before that they were just a bunch of loosely affiliated rebellious colonies.

Still though…July 4, 1776 is the officially established date for the birthday of the country…so who am I to argue the minutia…but I thought it might give ya’ll something to think about as you celebrate the day…after all that’s what Ima gonna do.

In other July 4th related news…Nike recently released a sneaker line that features the Betsy Ross flag on the heel. The flag looks like this.

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It is an actual flag from early in the history of the country…first flown in 1777…and features 13 stripes and 13 stars to commemorate the 13 original colonies. As a historic flag…it has been long considered a patriotic symbol.

So far…so good…Nike honored the country by introducing this shoe line shortly before Independence Day. So what’s the problem? Well…it turns out that this particular flag has been branded by the NAACP as “engaging in intentional acts of intimidation…rooted in an agenda to insult, injure, and incite”…this is because the flag was adopted by some right wing patriot groups in the 1990s to allude to parallels between the anti-government struggle (according to Wikipedia) of the groups and that of the American revolutionaries.

Anyways…noted unpatriotic American who should move to Venezuela Colin Kaepernick…he objected to the use of the Betsy Ross flag…so naturally Nike immediately cancelled the shoe…so I guess Kaepernick is the unofficial CEO of Nike. Talk about idiotic corporate following of political correctness BS…that takes the cake for this week but I’m sure we’ll see another example by this time next week.

Obviously Kaepernick has the right to protest under the Constitution…and far be it from me to infringe on that right…as opposed to him and his ilk who are perfectly happy to infringe on the rights of those they disagree with…but as an American I believe that honoring the flag, the country it represents, and those who have died to ensure the freedoms we enjoy in this country deserves a higher standard. As I said a few posts back…I think it highly likely that we’ve seen our last constitutional amendment due to the inability of politicians to compromise…but I for one would certainly support an amendment that made desecration of the flag or refusal to stand for the National Anthem a crime rather than a protected right. One can disagree with your government without spitting on your country. Why do we give air time and press inches to these hypocritical morons rather than to those that honor the country.

Ok…on to our latest Town Drunk…Darren. To briefly summarize what the Town Drunk means…ever since our first year on the road in 2012…Connie has had this bad habit of attracting the attentions of the local town drunk wherever we happened to be. I’m not sure why…originally I thought it was because every time it happened she was all purdy’ed up in a dress, heels, and makeup…but along about #4…who wasn’t actually drunk as he was a teetotaler but fit into the group of weirdos she attracts I decided that wasn’t it as #4 occurred when she was in shorts, t-shirt, and flip-flops. Best as I can figger it since…it’s just random. It isn’t the fact that we frequent dive bars as some of them have happened in more upscale joints, it ain’t how she’s dressed, and it ain’t even where we are in the country as it happens all over…it is just some sort of strange galactic gravitational pull sorta thing that pulls these weird men into her life. It’s always men…but not all men as most of the ones she meets are perfectly ordinary gentlemen…but then along comes the occasional weirdo to add to the list.

So…Darren. We’re sitting there at 2 of the 3 seats at the bar in Point Restaurant…Neil’s having a very nice Black Butte Porter and Connie is working on some strange concoction named Mamba by Gilgamesh Brewery…this is an ale made with black tea and tangerine peel…she liked it but I gotta tellya it was pretty gack…didn’t taste like beer at all but then she likes those gose sour things too so whatevers. Anyways…we’re sitting there and this inebriated fellow…it is the Town Drunk after all…he wanders up to the bar next to her and asks the bartender for another Bloody Mary…but he’s got all kinda special requests for her…he wants 4 stalks of asparagus, 6 olives, a lime wedge, and 2 jalapeño slices in it. He’s obviously done this before…and pestered this bartender before…as she says Ok and slowly makes his drink. He is also ordering some sort of coffee thing for his buddy sitting over in the corner at the one armed bandit or video poke machine or whatever it was…but he has to turn around and ask him three separate times before he remembers it. He’s waiting on his drink…and he turns to Connie and sez “I’m the only guy you know that got throwed in Jail in Yellowstone National Park.” Turns out he got arrested for drunk and disorderly in the park on Friday evening…ended up in the jail in West Yellowstone I guess, don’t think the park actually has a jail but mebbe it does…and spent the weekend in the hoosegow as the judge wasn’t in until Monday. Here’s a shot of ol’ Darren and Connie…clearly 3 sheets to the wind as you can tell. 

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He slurped that drink down right quick…delivered the coffee whatever it was to his buddy over in the corner past her right shoulder…and went out for a smoke. Said he was coming back for another…but 45 minutes later when we left he was still AWOL.

We boxed up our leftovers from dinner…or more accurately the bartender boxed them up for us…and we got a serving of marionberry cobbler to bring home for later…which actually turned out to be the next day…we never heard of marionberry beyond the obvious reference to the former mayor of Washington DC back in the 90s…turns out it is some sort of hybrid blackberry that was invented in Marion Country just to the north of Foster. We figured that anything on the dessert menu with both berry and cobbler in the name just had to be good…I’ll letya know later.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

HomingPigeon

BadNews

GettingUpSoundEffects

MenGetYelledAt

ERNurseGreatStory

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Cyas.

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