Raw, Unadulterated Boredom

Hello. It’s me.

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Have you ever been bored?

I have been bored.

In fact, I can clearly define for you what boredom is. Boredom is the state of having nearly six weeks of fun followed by several days of seemingly unending travel through the Intermountain West.

Now, what I’m about to say is not intended to be offensive to the Great residents of Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. At all. I’m asking you to view the splendor and beauty of the Intermountain West from the perspective of a small dog trapped inside a bouncy tin can careening from north to south at sub-sonic speeds approaching eighty miles per hour.

Here’s how this works. They put mile markers along the road. Sometimes the miles count up, and that’s a highly unfortunate situation. Why? Because you have no idea how long you’re gonna be stuck on the highway. For instance, is this MILE 39 of 72, or is this MILE 39 of 472? There’s a difference, #amirite?

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When you are traveling WEST to EAST, the mile markers count up. You wouldn’t think that I-84 in Oregon would just keep counting up and up and up until you hit 376 or whatever the final mile marker is. But you keep counting up. It takes forever. Then all of a sudden you enter a new state … a brief moment of sheer excitement!!

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The excitement is short-lived, of course … because then you are back at MILE 1 and you have no idea how many miles you have to drive across Idaho (hint … the answer is 276 … and at 80mph that is only 3.5 hours … but nevertheless it’s a long haul).

You drive mile after mile after mile, looking at the same moonscape.

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Eventually you arrive in Utah … and the miles begin counting up again. How many times does this happen? Well, I was in for a shocking surprise. We eventually hit I-15 in Utah, and the miles began to … are you ready for this … the miles began to count DOWN.

That’s right.

All of a sudden you are at mile marker 372 and you realize that you have 372 flippin’ miles to go before you get to the southern border of Utah.

Well, I was fed up … fed … up. So I demanded that Mom and Dad stop. I told them, “THIS IS THE PLACE …  where we need to stop.”

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Dad decided to eat at a God-awful Wendy’s restaurant north of Salt Lake City. Why was it God-awful? Two reasons. First, don’t ever order a salad at Wendy’s. Ever. Especially after eating a Seafood Louie at a reputable establishment just 48 hours earlier. If you like the taste of avocado that appeared blacker than the color the iceberg lettuce turned, then by all means, partake in a five-hundred-calorie menu item that retails for about six dollars.

Second, the parking lot was riddled with myriad drug deals. Turns out there might be a meth problem in this country. Who knew?

So we bolted from the Wendy’s north of Salt Lake City and traversed to mile marker 261, where we stayed the night at a KOA.

The next morning brought more suffering. When you begin at mile marker 261, you have 261 miles to go to get to the southern border of Utah. Do the math … if you average 75 miles per hour it means you are going to sit motionless in the RV for just under four hours. Which I exactly what I did.

You can only sleep for so many hours before you lose your mind. Mindful of my deteriorating condition, Mom and Dad let my evacuate my bladder on a small patch of grass outside of 102 degree St. George.

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Yeah, I look really thrilled about that.

Eventually we cross into … ARIZONA!!!! We’re home!!!!

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One problem. Mom tells me that Mile Marker 29 means we’re going to spend 29 miles in Arizona and then we go into Nevada where we have to drive for several hours before we get to … wait for it … wait for it … Arizona.

Worse, it looks like somebody stacked the mountains in Arizona incorrectly. Look at the angles the sediment sits at. Morons.

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A half-hour later we’re in Nevada.

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Once again we’re counting the miles down from the mid-one-hundred range down to about mile 41 in Las Vegas.

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See the sign … Exit 75B? Yup, once we got to Las Vegas the miles reset as we hit US-93, which is also called I-515, which then becomes I-11 while also being US-93 (and US-95).

Seriously, who names these highways?

We thundered past the Hoover Dam area along the Colorado River.

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And then we finally saw the sign we waited and waited and waited for.

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Ok, we’re finally in Arizona. We’ll be home in five minutes, right?

Wrong.

Miles begin counting up. We’re trying to get to Kingman now, and Kingman is at Mile Marker 71. Another hour. Yeeesh.

When we finally arrive in Kingman, we fill up with diesel for the final time. Dad starts the RV up, and guess what?

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Yup, it’s 104 degrees out and we peg ourselves a Check Engine Light. Mom reviews the manual and sees that a check engine light is only for emissions problems. Dad says “we don’t care about emissions problems, we’re heading home.”

I admire his judgment.

The miles are still counting up, and I learn that we’ve got 100 miles before we re-enter civilization at Wickenburg. Are you kidding me?

So I begin to revolt … sitting on Mom’s lap … licking my feet (which is my way of saying ENOUGH already). Mile 94 becomes Mile 95 becomes Mile 96 becomes insufferable and unending as we thunder toward Mile 199 (Wickenburg).

But we eventually get to Wickenburg, and now we’ve only got 45 minutes of feet licking and general discontentment to go.

In case you are wondering, yes, we eventually made it home. A thousand miles of raw, unadulterated boredom finally came to an end on a 113 degree afternoon west of Phoenix.

When Dad took the RV to the storage lot the following day, temperatures climbed considerably.

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Yeah, 120 degrees sure makes you feel like dancing.

Mom & Dad spent the next several hours putting the house back together.

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Heck, I’m old enough to remember when you turned the TV on and it just worked … now you get a nasty blue screen and the experts tell you that you own a “Smart TV” … really? Really?

Last night I was on the bed, and I asked Dad if I could jump under the covers? He obliged. Maybe I was bored out of my gourd for a thousand miles, but it turns out that the payoff for all of that boredom was worth it … I’ve been rewarded with significant cuddle time in a house that is not moving or bouncing. RV trips are a lot of fun when you are seeing old friends and scenic vistas. RV trips are less fun when you are thundering down the highway at 80mph.

We’re home. What a blast our time in the West was!!!! Now we prepare for falling temperatures and unending crunchables!!!

 

 

 

 

Threat-o-Rama!

Hello! It’s me!

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That’s a look of utter “frazzlement”, #amirite?

Why am I experiencing the condition known as “frazzlement”??? I’ll tell you why. It’s because the past few days were a veritable threat-o-rama. Want proof?

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Yeah … all of a sudden there is an outburst from the rusted metals community.

Over the weekend we were camping on Lopez Island. Dad and I ran across a deer who pulled off this stunt:

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Yeah, Bambi comes all up in our faces with the “hey, get outta my orchard” deal and I said “hey, it’s a free country” and Bambi said “you’re not gonna be here this time or next time or anytime” and I said “does anybody really know what time it is?” and then Dad coaxed me back to the RV to listen to some smooth grooves on Yacht Rock Radio.

Tonight I’m roaming the campground here in Pendleton and I’m introduced to a new threat.

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For a moment I thought I was going to be in the middle of a gunfight at the OK Corral. After all, we’re out here in the Wild West.

Sometimes these threats aren’t actual threats … they’re perceived threats. Take Suki, my new best friend, all of ten weeks old.

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She showed me how to jump into a mini-lake on a summer afternoon. I showed her how to evaluate whether a Chupacabra invasion was imminent.

At times I build up a lot of nervous energy. Who can blame me? There are threats everywhere. Mom & Dad have nearly exhausted my supply of crunchables on this trip in an effort to calm perpetual frazzlement.

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The exhaustion can be overwhelming.

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When Mom tells me that we’re going to go see friends, my countenance quickly rebounds.

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Or at least my countenance adjusts. And that picture isn’t very flattering, Dad.

On Wednesday I got to see a bunch of dear friends at the Mullis Center!

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I even got my picture included in their newsletter. I mean, I’m kind of a big deal (that one is for Tim/Kathy, enjoy, I’ll be here all week).

On Thursday I was abandoned for large swaths of the day while Mom & Dad played Pickleball.

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And when they weren’t playing Pickleball, they were gorging themselves on fine wine and fine dining at Roche Harbor.

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Over the weekend Mom visited her friend Sheila, and a cohort of quilters crafted themselves into a veritable froth. When I wasn’t being threatened by hooved ruminants from the Cervidae family, I strolled along the ocean.

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Dad and I hung out in the RV on a rainy Saturday while Mom & Crew dazzled the assembled masses.

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Unfortunately, you’ve heard about Dad being smitten by Spam, right?

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Well, on Saturday Dad decided to fry up some Spam. While attempting to finalize the crusty crunchiness of the edges of the Spam, Dad set off the RV smoke detector. That’s one threat too many as far as I am concerned. The sheer terror of a high pitched sound sent me into an inconsolable puddle of emotions.

Please visit my website to watch me shiver myself silly (click here).

While Mom continued craft-o-rama on Sunday, Dad and I headed to the mainland to prepare for our trip home. Once we arrived at the campground outside of Anacortes, I was assigned the job of assessing the potential of yet another threat-o-rama.

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Only the skies were threatening.

Last night Mom & Dad enjoyed a “Last Supper” of sorts, as they celebrated what has been an amazing trip.

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Mom brought me the wine list, and while I assessed whether there were any threats on the menu, something interesting popped up. Here’s the wine list.

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FYI – no butter Laurie. None. #sigh

My Mom grew up in Wautoma … Wisconsin … but there is apparently wine from Wautoma Springs in Washington State. And it turned out that Wautoma Springs is a real thing (click here). Who knew?

This morning Mom & Dad informed me that it was time to head home. We’re on Day 36 of this epic journey. We said goodbye to the Pacific Northwest … for as Seals & Crofts once said, “we may never pass this way again” … you never know what threats life will throw at you.

Now, when you are riding next to Dad, you want to make sure that Dad is well-protected. Multi-lane freeways are the very definition of threat-o-rama. So I make sure that I have Dad’s leg protected at all times. Like this:

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Did you see what’s going on there? Allow me to zero in a bit:

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Absolutely nothing is going to happen to Dad when I’ve got him covered with a drumstick.

We drove close to seven hours today, arriving in Pendleton, Oregon … at the very foot of the Blue Mountains.

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We are spending the evening at a KOA in Pendleton. As per usual, there are random threats against the canine species.

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Somebody is filming me while I go to the bathroom? WTH?

Speaking of “What The H$(#??”

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Anyway, there’s a real chance that we’ll land in Utah by the end of tomorrow, and be more than halfway home. Odds are we’ll be home on Thursday, which would be Day 39 of our journey … a personal best for RV trips for Mom & Dad.

Of course, we have to cross the Blue Mountains to get there. You never know when another threat-o-rama will break out, do you?

Marine Layer

Hello, it’s me!!

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When you visit the Coastal Pacific Northwest, there’s the usual array of threats.

  1. Real.
  2. Perceived.
  3. Rusted Metals.
  4. Chupacabra.

There’s also the dreaded Marine Layer.

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For the past several mornings we’ve been socked-in by the grey menace. As a consequence (or not), we’ve delayed our veritable plethora of visits to the afternoon hours.

On Friday we visited Peggy/Kurt … and while I didn’t take any pictures (likely because they have three dogs that were nothing but kind to me), I did get a snap of the coastal drive to their home.

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By the way, Peggy makes a mean jalapeno popper … not that I got to sample ’em, but I hear they are tasty.

On Saturday Mom got to spend some time with island crafters.

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I waited for Mom to get home with baited breath. When she arrived, it was dinner time, and we cobbled together a Charcuterie Board for dinner … and let’s just say I got to sample some salami & cheeses. Mmmmmmm!

On Sunday we visited Robin & Nancy. Oh, the skillz they possess!

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Look at this one … a different color for the daily temperature, crafted during the course of a whole year!

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And it’s not all crafting either … there’s the periodic deep-dive into ham radio operations.

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I could barely leave the premises after the glowing review of hobbying efforts.

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Later on Sunday I got a chance to see my friends Ken & Sue and their special guests, Joe & Amy!!!! What a stunning surprise to see the Arizona contingent a half-continent to the North!

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That image is for Laurie.

When you visit somebody at their home, I hear it is common courtesy to bring food. I mean, the hosts are going out of their way to make your stay comfortable, so the least you can do is bring something tasty. I told Dad to step up his game.

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Heck, I even thought this might be a nice touch, but somebody (everybody) vetoed the idea:

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Missed opportunity, #amirite?

On Monday the Arizona contingent played pickleball with the locals. And while they had fun, the theme of the trip for me (at times) has been canine discrimination, and Roche Harbor didn’t disappoint.

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Where do they want the dogs, on the flowers?

On Tuesday we visited my friend Anita (and Roger too) … guess what? They have a 10 week old pup named Maggie!!!!!

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Let’s just say there were “moments of mayhem” as the young pup played, pounced, and even pinched my flesh with her ten-week old chompers. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been “bitten in the bum” before, but there’s always a first time for everything I guess, and the nip was offered with the kindest of intentions. What a fun time!!!

Speaking of first times – I wasn’t chicken about this experience at all.

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We’re getting ready for Day 7 on San Juan Island as I speak. I hear another puppy visit is scheduled, and we’re meeting friends for dinner tonight. With luck, the marine layer will burn off and I am eternally hopeful that the restaurant will serve up something good.

Spam

 

A Full Agenda!

Hello! It’s me!!

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I’m just zonked after five consecutive days of non-stop activity.

#zonked

Let’s get to the featured event of the trip … my stop in Oak Harbor to see my sister Autumn and her pups. Niece/Nephew fest!! I waited patiently to see my family.

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Lemme tell ya, Autumn looks like a proud Mom, #amirite?

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I can’t wait to communicate via p-mail with these tiny little sausage links!

And while Autumn was happy, I could tell she was worn out from the last few weeks. Fortunately, the pups will have new homes in 6-7 weeks.

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In fact, I think everybody was a bit tired.

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Ok, on to the other stuff that happened … and there is a plethora of activity to report on.

We spent a few days in Gig Harbor. The village has a nice downtown area where a pup can wait for Mom, take walks, or sit in the RV while Dad consumed Spam Sliders (yes, you read that correctly).

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Mmmmmmmmmmmm …. sliders ….

However, I wasn’t a fan of the discriminatory practices in this town.

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I assure you I wasn’t trespooping. But I can tell you that I wanted to do something in that spot. “Something”. Use your imagination.

Dad abandoned us on Saturday night for grass roots auto racing in Elma.

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On Sunday morning, Mom and Dad tackled the biggest thorn in our collective sides … the warped window frame on the entry door. They tore the thing out, which I’m told was a highly satisfying experience.

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A half-hour later the new frame was installed and was solid. No more howling breezes coming in the side door while whistling down the highway at 70mph.

Mom decided to celebrate by enjoying a beverage in Bremerton.

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Next, we crossed Hood Canal, on our way to the Port Angeles / Sequim metroplex. There was a seven-mile backup of cars trying to get back to Seattle on a Sunday afternoon. If there’s one thing Mom & Dad have learned from this trip, it is this … there are now way too many people west of the Cascades in Washington and Oregon.

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Once in the metroplex we visited our friends Joe & Debbie. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the more than three full days I spent there, I was at times banished to the RV while Joe / Debbie / Mom / Dad had fun. And that’s NO FUN, if you know what I’m talking about. But I abide regardless.

When I was included in the activities, I had a blast. Here I’m being served a refreshing blueberry … and I had to shake my paw for the right to be offered the succulent sweet.

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I’m told that the golf on Monday was sub-par.

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We took a nice walk on Monday night … I was eager to stretch all four legs.

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What the …..?

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We also did a bit of shopping … or checking phones … either way, something happened.

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We left the metroplex on Wednesday morning. As we headed toward Port Townsend we noticed a large RV towing a car … and there was a problem … a major problem. Mom crafted a sign, and Dad finally found a passing lane to allow Mom to share a dire warning with the RV.

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Fortunately the driver pulled over immediately. Problem averted? We’ll never know for sure. But I like to believe that when you see a threat you make somebody aware of the threat. You never know when the transmission in the tow car was left in neutral or a chupacabra was trying to get into your RV storage bay. Always best to be safe.

Mom and Dad ate lunch in Port Townsend. Dad enjoyed Panang Curry. Rumor has it that at press time Dad was still licking the interior of the empty bowl.

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We boarded a ferry at Port Townsend, enabling us to tootle our way along Whidbey Island. I got a chance to stretch my legs again.

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On Whidbey Island, Mom collected yet another National Park Stamp … after that we visited my sister!!!!

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From there we crossed Deception Pass, where the Chupacabra of the Ocean (the Squid) resides in 800 foot ocean depths.

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We spent the night in Anacortes with Doug, Laura, Greg, and Debra. We enjoyed late evening breezes and grilled salmon … and we spent some time on the third floor deck.

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This morning we boarded a ferry to Friday Harbor. We’re spending a full week on San Juan Island, so that should be a lotta fun!!

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We’ve covered a lot of ground in Washington State … the yellow highlighted routes are all of the routes I’ve traversed in an RV since I’ve been born. And we even missed one route (down I-82) when we first visited Arizona in March 2016 (the month Mom decided she wanted to live in, ironically enough, Arizona).

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That’s a lotta miles riding in a tin can.

This afternoon Dad fixed a leaky kitchen sink. Is there anything he can’t do? Well, yes. There’s a ton of stuff he can’t do. But we don’t focus on that here. We extol his virtues, and in exchange I get to enjoy a periodic abundance of crunchables.

We’re gonna take a break tonight (after having pizza with my friends Ken & Sue … Ken calls me “buddy“, and I lick his toes in eternal gratitude). Tomorrow we tackle nearly two weeks worth of laundry, and then tomorrow night we renew acquaintances with friends on the island. Sounds like fun? You bet!!!! It’s all part of a very full agenda, an enjoyable agenda, one we need to take advantage of, because in just a little over a week we begin to head for home. Our trip enters the penultimate week, with nearly four weeks in the books.

 

 

A Big Threat

Hello. It’s me!

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Just chewin’ on some of the things that happened over the past few days.

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On Thursday we passed through Cannon Beach … a quick bite-and-go before arriving at the KOA outside of Astoria. We didn’t stay long, because the threat (and you know what I think about threats, #amirite?) of a tsunami was too great to take lightly.

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Yesterday we popped up at the crack of dawn (or sometime thereafter) and headed out to Ft. Clatsop. I couldn’t wait to begin the journey.

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At first I thought, “is that all there is … a sign next to six tall, gray crayons??”

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Mom got her stamp and browsed the content while I (again) waited patiently.

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Mom then offered up a surprise … she asked me if I wanted to go on a hike??? I was skeptical at first, because there’s a lotta places where I think we could go on a nice hike and Mom and Dad tell me “NO” …

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… but this time we were off and running into the deep woods!

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Unfortunately, we made a bit of a mistake … we were looking for the canoe landing where Lewis & Clark finally made it to what would become Ft. Clatsop … but instead we took the wrong trail, a trail that went 6.5 miles out of the way. Ooooops!!

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After a couple of miles of misguided pathway, we altered our course and headed for a replica of the fort that Lewis & Clark wintered in during their stay outside of Astoria.

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It’s a lot of fun to hike two or three miles, but then you see something that unnerves you … you see a threat … what turned out to be a recurring threat.

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That’s where I drew the line … I told Mom & Dad to get me to higher ground.

Mom & Dad delayed my safety by eating lunch at the most famous of all Coastal Oregon establishments.

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When they returned to the rig, I demanded HIGHER GROUND. And wow, did Mom & Dad deliver!! They took me to the longest bridge in the United States (I think) … the four-mile bridge that crosses the mighty Columbia River at Astoria. Wowzer!! This is the kind of bridge that would freak out my friend Connie. Freak. Her. Out.

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I felt serenity as we crossed the bridge … no tsunami was going to wash my day out to sea. Threat averted!!

We arrived in Gig Harbor, where we will spend a few days before heading to the northern half of the Olympic Peninsula. It’s cold, clammy, with temperatures in the 60s. In other words, it’s another gorgeous summer day in the Pacific Northwest.

 

 

Warning!

Hello! It’s me.

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That’s me, addressing an audience of zero at an amphitheater at the base of Mt. Hood outside of Portland. I’m trying to warn everybody in the park that building a lodge and ski resort ON A VOLCANO that exploded 230 years ago is a BAD IDEA.

Nobody listened.

Not a soul.

With Mt. Jefferson as my backdrop (another volcano, for crying out loud), I spoke at length about the fact that a pyroclastic event happened around 1790 … and a steam event happened in the 1850s. If this puppy were to burst again, the lodge and ski hill would be wiped out.

Heck, this guy gets paid to tell people that trouble may well be on the horizon, but people didn’t seem to listen to him either.

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Maybe he was telling them about a fascinating story about the lodge. Did you know that the Mt. Hood lodge (the exterior) was used in The Shining??

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At first, I had to sit in the RV while Mom and Dad supped on a buffet-style luncheon (Dad was particularly mesmerized by the spice-cake mini-cupcakes).

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But then I got to walk the premises! The first thing I did was chase a cat.

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Then I sprinted for the trails, heading to the amphitheater to give my lecture.

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As soon as I finished my lecture, Mom and Dad drove me away from the volcano as fast as possible.

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Whew!

P.S.: We were planning on staying in the Seattle area for a few days, but there weren’t good camping opportunities in King County (or in Western Washington for that matter). But there were traffic opportunities.

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P.P.S.: Dad got a new door window frame at Roy Robinson RV. He hasn’t installed it yet – he’s afraid he’ll butcher the job and we’ll have a gaping hole in the rig.

P.P.P.S.:  Here was today’s catastrophe. The generator was overwhelmed this morning, and instead of tripping the GFCI circuit or flipping a breaker, the generator tripped a breaker on the generator itself. That’s a problem, because the RV is only about a foot off the ground and the generator is under the RV.

Ooops.

After an unhealthy and abrasive crabby spell, Dad teamed with Mom to back the RV over a ditch. Once the rear of the rig was positioned over a ditch, Dad set the emergency brake, crawled under the rig, and flipped the breaker. We were back in business!

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Tomorrow we head to Astoria … the western-most extent of the journey of Lewis & Clark, and home to classic movies like Kindergarten Cop and The Goonies.

Here Kitty Kitty

Hello! It’s me.

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There’s something utterly blissful about waltzing through a hardware store while Dad buys nuts & washers to fix the battery harness, #amirite?

We spent the past few days with MY friends … Tim, Kathy, Ken, Sue. I invited Mom & Dad to spend time with them too.

But the overriding theme of the weekend was cats … meaning that I know MY friends own cats and are keeping the cats from me. Oh, I tried to get to them, believe me, I tried.

Here kitty kitty!!

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When the cat saunters upstairs, my job becomes a lot harder.

When the cat is inside the house and I’m banished to the outside deck, well, the job is just plain impossible.

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Here’s my preferred method for trying to engage with a cat.

  1. Walk up to the cat.
  2. Bark as loud as I possibly can while wiggling my rear end in an effort to encourage light-hearted play. Thirty to forty seconds of loud, unfettered barking usually does the job.

Here’s the typical outcome of my efforts.

  1. Cat runs away, looking at me as if I have horns crawling out of my tummy.

Mom and Dad continued their food-based rampage through the Pacific Northwest.

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Yesterday, we boarded a ferry. For a moment I thought to myself, “are we going to Friday Harbor (because that’s where we once lived)”???

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Mom told me that we’re going to Friday Harbor in early August … but it turns out we did a quick “bonus visit” this weekend! And I got to hike at Lime Kiln State Park … one of my favorite hikes in the world!!

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Maybe the saddest part of the day was learning that the resident orcas have only been by the lighthouse twice in the past seven weeks. They used to go by twice a day (or more).

This only happens if there aren’t any king salmon in the ocean to eat.

Lemme tell you … I know what it is like when food isn’t available. It’s not fun! So I feel for the orcas. And I struggle with a world where so few people seem to care. If it would help, I’d bark at the top of my lungs … just like I do when I’m trying to engage with a cat. But it won’t help. I need humans to “do something”.

Meanwhile, Mom & Dad even got a chance to play some pickleball on this leg of the trip.

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Dad tells me that we’re looking into solutions for our entry door frame tomorrow. That sounds like a ton of fun. If I bark at the top of my lungs, maybe I could manifest a kitty tomorrow. That would spice things up!!