A Weekend on the Peninsula

Our weather guys were predicting a heat wave to start here this weekend, and as seldom seen, it was also to make our coastal areas warm as well. Anyone that knows Washington State knows that our coastal areas can be downright cold. I've had situations before when I left here in the mid 80's and arrived at the coast two hours later to the low 60's. Brrr! This weekend was supposed to be different, and Suzie and I decided to take advantage of it.

Photo road trip!

We left here Saturday morning, and by the time we arrived back here last night at about 7 o'clock, we had driven 550 miles, and had taken just shy of 1000 pictures between the two of us. We arrived sunburned and exhausted. While the trip never afforded us the photo opportunities that we hoped for in all the areas we visited, we got some great ones and we'll post them soon.

We decided on a clockwise loop around the peninsula, but almost every place we stopped on the west coast was foggy. Foggy may be great for moody pictures or desolation, but we hoped for more. We visited the most northwest corner of the state, Cape Flattery, but again--Fog. Our first real photo breakthrough came when we timed our arrival at Clallam Bay perfectly and watched the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean. While we hoped to just catch a nice, easy stop at a motel to end our Saturday, we were lucky to have brought along a tent and sleeping bags because in the area we were in, no empty motels were to be found.

Upon awakening Sunday morning, we packed up and headed for the nearest town with cafe. We needed coffee and breakfast! A stop in Joyce, Washington fulfilled our needs, and we pressed onward. Stopping in Port Angeles for a sand sculpture art event was on our list and we weren't disappointed. We had a great time milling around there for a couple of hours before heading up the mountain to Hurricane Ridge. I had never been up there before, and we were blessed to find that even though it was a mountain top over a mile high, it was well over 75 degrees up there, and photo ops galore! A newborn fawn suckling on her mother right near the guest center had the tourists going gaga, and we got our share of shots of them too. Just as we were leaving, the unique sight of a guy near his motor home with a potbellied pig on a leash greeted our eyes, and it wouldn't have been like me to miss the chance to go check that out. Charlie the pig was a unique finale to that stop!

The day went downhill as we approached our ferry destination. There are some pretty hefty traffic bottlenecks in our state here and there, and apparently we found one yesterday as we neared the Hood Canal bridge. A good two hours or so of stop and go traffic in hot weather finally relented and let us proceed to our ferry ride to downtown Seattle for the final drive home. It was hot in that traffic, and both of us were nearing our limits of endurance. We wanted our home. Well, the ferry was just what we needed. Breezy, cool, and relaxing.

I guess now I'll go to work and compare my sunburned face with everyone else's.

Slippin' on the Blog Posts

I didn't realize until I checked my blog this morning, but here it is--July 20th--And it's only my 3rd post of the entire month! It's down right embarrassing I tell ya...

Let's address our new computers first off. Suz said a little about them in her blog the other day, but I just want to say how nice it is to have some reliable speed for a change. I'm one of those people that gets a lot of mileage out of a computer. I use it often, and I wring everything I can out of one before giving up on it. I tend to just replace parts that fail as they're needed. This computer upgrade was an upgrade in hardware for both of us. While both of us had "capable" computers, they were both having their problems. When I saw the ad in Craigslist (where else?) for a couple of matching Dell computers with good ingredients I had to act. We both previously had 2 gigs of ram each, but we both were suffering in the processor department, and both of us had USB problems. Nowadays, you need good USB capabilities because almost everything runs on it. So now, after combining a few things and buying a few others, we both have matching "his & hers" brain boxes with fast processors, lots of ram, and lots of storage. They work well, work fast, and cost little.

While we're on technology, let me mention my new phone. I'm officially a member of the cell phone world now. Okay, I've already had a cell phone for a few years, but it was always a prepaid variety (I call them toy phones). That meant I had to be stingy with my usage. Suzie's daughter, Rachyl, has a cell account that their whole family "buys into" every month and now I'm in on that plan. With unlimited texts and lots of minutes, coupled with my new Nokia phone, I feel I'm actually a cell user. Although I'm not much of a yakker and never have been, I do like to text. I like getting them and sending them both. Now I can actually receive and send pictures and stuff too. I recently got a data cable that even adds more usability to my phone. Now I can put almost anything I want right onto the phone in live time by dragging and dropping it from the computer. What a geek eh?

It's been a good week. A week filled with, "Hi honey--I'm home!" every time I come home from work. I love coming home to this place. I knew I would, but I had certain trepidations that I've already gone over in previous blogs. Although I don't feel like going over previous posts to see if any of them actually were issues, I can honestly say everything is good here. Okay, almost everything. Occasionally we have an overdose of dog barking at the wrong time of night. The bad thing is that at night you can't see them in the crosshairs of your rifle. Okay, I'm kidding about that last part (mostly).

It's been a good week for us and Keith too. He pretty much played the phantom whenever possible up until this week. He would be here a little, but mostly not. This last week he spent the whole week here! Every time we were going somewhere to shop for something and I asked if he wanted to go, he came along. We both think he's liking the fact that he's being included in things. That's good for me, because being an instant step-parent is not something to be taken lightly in any circumstance. This situation was sort of unique because he is the only one still "at home" but is also over the age of 18. That means that you have to just get along and really can't expect anything else. The good news is that we are getting along fine.

Sarah was out of town all week with her mom, visiting her mom's friend Karen over on the other side of the state. Those of you that have followed my blog since the days of it's previous incarnation will remember those annual trips they always made and how much I loved them. That was like a vacation to me then when I had the house to myself. Anyway, now Sarah likes the fact that we can exchange pictures on our cells. She has had that capability for quite a while, but she liked it when I sent her pictures of her kittycats in a text message last week. She's still anxiously awaiting news from PLU about who she'll get for a roommate when she starts college this fall.

I spent a good weekend around the house. Saturday it was mostly working in the garage--Moving things, hanging things, and generally making more room. It was a hot day, and farting around in the ceiling area, putting things away in the rafters was no picnic. Yesterday was much more low-key. I puttered about fixing things here and there mostly. All weekend (Friday included) we were serenaded by the lovely sounds of nearby Pacific Raceways. This was the weekend of their version of the Superbowl, called the NHRA Northwest Nationals. Let me tell you, when top fuel dragsters and funny cars pair off, it literally shakes the ground! As noisy as it is, it's still a pretty cool thing. Maybe it's because I'm a part-time gear head...

Well, that should suffice for a blog for now. I know I've failed to mention lots of things, but that's okay. I think the problem was mostly due to the computer upgrades. Usually when I sit down with my morning coffee I have very little to do, but the last couple weeks have been filled with loading software, tweaking, and adjusting things. That's pretty much finished now, so we'll see if things improve.

Bicycles and Poop!

It should have been a great day for a ride on the Harley yesterday--After all, the signs all pointed towards a killer day of mid-80's sun. We had been looking forward to visiting Melinda and checking out the newest member of her miniature donkey family, and decided that this was the perfect day to do it.

But we didn't expect the bicycles.

Unbeknown to us, we had chosen the same day that all the masochistic bicycle riders of the Pacific Northwest chose to do their annual Seattle-to-Portland bicycle ride (also known as the STP). While this normally wouldn't be a problem, we had chosen, for obvious Harley-riding & scenery-enjoying reasons, a path of travel that crossed with theirs. Picture yourself in rural, small-town USA on a road that winds through small towns, now add 10,000 people on bicycles. Seriously, that's what the paper reported--Just shy of 10,000 of them. All shapes & sizes, on bikes of all types, all ages, all levels of expertise, some considerate riders and some not--All "sharing" the road with people in or on motorized transportation. Sharing would be putting it mildly. What actually ended up happening in the little towns was total gridlock. We sat in the nice, little town of Yelm, Washington for what seemed like ages, moving a few feet at a time, in 80+ degree heat. We were hot, the Harley was pushing 230°, and I was rapidly losing my cool in other ways as well. We finally had to abandon our scenic trip and take alternate route that took us to the freeway. I conceded defeat to them in a last-gasp effort to salvage our day and still be able to spend some time at Melinda's house.

Our visit to her house was killer. We always enjoy our visits to White Hawk Farm (her ranch name). There is always something new and interesting to see and enjoy, and in our cases, to photograph. We always take pictures at her house, and usually lots of them. What took us there this time was to see a new arrival in her donkey stable, just born this last week. Roy Rogers is his name, and he is the cutest little donkey baby! He's not even 2-feet tall at the shoulders yet. Check him out:

There was also another new one there that we hadn't seen yet. It was born a couple of months ago, but due to wedding plans and the like we never got to go see her (I think it was a her). The new critters also included a beautiful brother/sister team of Border Collies named Rex and Fly. They were very beautiful dogs, and very smart and energetic. After enjoying a great photo session with all the critters, she treated us to a great dinner of fresh-caught salmon from the barbecue. Danny (her husband) is still in Alaska on business (his crew is building the second in a series of 3 bridges) and caught it himself and had it shipped down to her. Good stuff! After we ate, we had a great time picking up donkey poop (seriously!) in her field. Sue got to drive the John Deere Gator that she has for that purpose, and the two dogs had a hoot of a time trying to "herd" it as she drove around the field from pile to pile where Melinda and I scooped up the little "field apples" and tossed them in the back. She looked really good driving it too--Dressed for summer and her blond hair flying. Here are a few shots of our poop-slingin' fun:

Our trip home was fine until we got to a certain point on I-5 where the glorious Washington State work crews had a lane closure to do a bridge repair. When I saw the "left two lanes close ahead" sign, my first thought was, "Jeez, they only have 3 lanes to start with--Here we go again." Yes, it was much like our ride amongst the bicyclists earlier in the day, but fortunately it was much cooler and there was actually an end in sight. It wasn't long after that when the moon made it's dramatic appearance. Suzie pointed it out to me as it rose over the eastern horizon. It wasn't a complete full moon, but it was HUGE and it was colored a deep yellowish-orange that looked cool. Had we both been somewhere with full use of tripods it would have been quite a dramatic shot.

Home at midnight and beat. Our first Harley ride as a couple in almost a year. Although it was far from perfect, it was a good ride.

The Poet Strikes Once Again

I decided a little ways back that it's way past due that I play with verse in my blog. Yes, it's been quite a while since I sat down and matched the sounds of similar words to tell a short story.

Syllabic flow is what I have the most fun with. I probably should have spent more time in English class with all the proper usages of punctuation though. I don't know why I enjoy playing with various forms of rhymes, but I do. Sometimes it comes out quick and "jumps" onto the screen (remember when we used to say paper?) and other times it takes a few weeks.

This is one of the latter:
I found myself choosing a wife one year,
but I'm not really sure as to why.
I think it was mostly a matter of age,
and that we both feared the years passing by.

The early years proved to be happy and fun
and our beautiful daughter was born;
but as I took part in her life and her growth
my marriage grew lackluster and worn.

The end of our union eventually grew near
and we grappled with what we should do,
and although neither wanted to make the first move
It was over and both of us knew.

I slowly gathered needed things
that I felt I had to own.
All the things that I would need
to exist in the world alone.

I thought myself a happy man
because I was single and free,
but I never knew what the future held
or where I was destined to be.

Then out of the blue (or so it seemed)
a woman I saw every day
suddenly struck me differently,
and she shone in a whole new way.

It was weird the way I suddenly noticed her
even though she had always been near me.
It was like I had been blind all my life
and then I could suddenly see.

Our feelings grew stronger as time went by;
our likes and our interests much the same.
It seemed the more things of each other we learned
the more complete we became.
It was almost an inevitable thing
that we join and become man and wife,
and so that's exactly what happened:
Married--And best friends for life.
So as I sit here and reflect on events
that led both of us to this place,
I have to wonder how close we both came
to never having met face to face.
Just one little thing done differently
by just one of us at any one time,
would have changed the whole course of events
and I would not be sitting here with this rhyme.