Borrego Springs, CA

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Preparing for the Mayonnaise Clinic

I’m sure most of you have heard of the famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  Well, in my mind, I think of it as the Mayonnaise Clinic.  By the time they get finished poking, probing, and squishing (you ladies will understand that term) me, I feel like a freshly whipped up bowl of mayonnaise.  I have my every other year appointments all set up for Sept. 7.  With no glass of wine the night before, and a fasting morning, I’ll be run through the mill all day.  The Mayo Clinic is an amazing place, but I’m already trying to deal with my white coat syndrome.  I HATE going to the doctor, but it’s necessary for me to get another year of prescriptions written.  I’ll be relieved when it’s all over.

To that end, I finally called the dog kennel today, and got Emma signed up for another four or five day stay at the spa.  I’m going to be driving the car instead of the rig, so I’ll drop her off on my way out on Tuesday morning.  I also called the motel in Kasson, MN, to sign up for three nights there.  I persuaded them to give me the same rate/night that I got in July.  That was a savings of $15/night over what they were going to charge me.  Of course, I’ll be in a handicapped room, but after my day at the clinic, I’ll probably feel that way. Smile with tongue out

The other thing I’ll have to do while I’m there is make a quick trip to Sioux Falls, SD, with the proper documentation this time to renew my driver’s license.  My plan is to do that trip in one day, and return to Kasson.  In the midst of all this, I’ll visit with my son and his family, and I really would like to get a meal at the locally famous Hubbell House (?).  It was a stage coach stop over place way back when, and I do enjoy their shrimp dinner.  Don’t think the three young grandkids would do very well at the slow paced dinner, but maybe Andy can get a babysitter for the evening.

Since I felt a bit punkie last night, I only did very sedentary chores today.  Nothing planned for tomorrow either…

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to the zoo

Robyn and Dennis are members of the Brookfield Zoo.  That means that up to four adults and four children can visit the zoo for free all year with them on their pass.  The grandgirls are of an age to enjoy this outing, and with the pass it doesn’t have to be an all day affair that wears on everyone’s nerves.  So, it was off to the zoo again today.  Avery loves animals, so she gets to pick what to see first.


She wanted to see lions and tigers, so that’s where we headed.


Just like many house cats, these big cats sleep about 20 hours/day.  We were lucky that this king of the jungle was somewhat awake.


Not so for the tiger. 


An added bonus for today was that Dennis was able to come along as well.  It never hurts to have your Daddy pick you up to get a better view.  There are also several venues geared to the very young.  I posted about those the last time we visited.  Suffice it to say that the girls had their faces painted for the last half of our visit. 


We had packed some sandwiches, so we enjoyed those on one of the numerous benches throughout the zoo.


The park is loaded with these ground squirrels that aren’t in cages, and by the looks of this fellow, do very well keeping the place tidy.

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Then it was on to the giraffes.  They didn’t exactly want to pose for pictures today.  Did you know that those horn like things on top of their heads are hair covered as well?  I never knew that.  I had thought this would be the first place we would stop, since the giraffe seems to be Avery’s favorite animal right now. 

After about three hours, we headed for the car.  Three hours of walking is about enough for me these days.  Smile  That also gets the girls home for their afternoon naps before they start getting cranky.  Oddly, neither of them are prone to sleeping in the car.  All of my kids readily slept in the car.

It was 3:00 before I finally got back to the rig, and Emma was an enthusiastic welcoming committee.  I began to feel a bit under the weather as we drove home, so I’m glad I don’t have anything planned for tomorrow.  I sure don’t want to get sick again.


                                                                         THE END!!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Mattress, a Metamorphosis, and a Malt

Back when my friend, GYPSY, was fulltiming, I believe she posted one time about how she slept on one side of her bed for a while, and then switched to the other side for a while so she didn’t have to wash her sheets so often.  I thought this was a brilliant idea for a solo traveler.  Quite a while back, I gave that idea a try.  It turned out it just didn’t work for me.  There’s a certain side of the bed I like to sleep on in this rig.  I found myself just rolling back to my favorite side during the night.  The result is that I’ve noticed my preferred side of the mattress has become lower than the other side.  Early this morning, I decided to remedy that situation by turning the mattress 180 degrees.

Easier said than done in the confined space of the rig bedroom.  Do you remember the Keystone Cops from way back when?  Well, that’s what it was like for me this morning, only there was only one cop!  There’s a nice amount of space on one side of the bed, but the other side is a little tight for a healthy girl.  The mattress isn’t exactly light, and I had to move it a little, reposition myself, crawl across the top to the other side, and then I got pinned for a while against the window.  At one point, I wasn’t sure I could do this, but I finally won the mattress war.  What a workout!  Tonight, I’ll be like the Princess and the Pea ( without the pea). 


Up next on the agenda was to go to Robyn’s to do my laundry.  When I got there, one of the monarchs had just emerged out of it’s chrysalis.


There are still two more hanging,

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and one just morphing into a chrysalis.  It didn’t take long for that “J” shaped caterpillar to change into a chrysalis.  We’ve got all the stages there except the egg.

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We took the newly emerged butterfly outdoors and determined that it was a male.  See those two black dots in the orange of the lower wings?  That’s what tells you it’s a male. 


Robyn tried to entice each of the grandgirls to let the butterfly perch on their finger.  They were excited, but..

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at the last second, each of them decided otherwise.

After the girls had their lunch, we headed out to the grocery store and the pet store to get Emma a new leash.  Along the way, we stopped for lunch for Robyn and I at Schoop’s Hamburger joint.

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Phoebe sat next to me, and had her first try at onion rings.  That little girl will try anything.  Avery was quite happy with some fries and a strawberry shake.

photoI leave you tonight with ‘Belt’ and ‘Buckle’ sharing a chocolate malt.  You’ve got to love a little kid that helps you eat your onion rings and chocolate malt…

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Had to get out the leather gloves and long tongs again

It’s been a pretty boring couple of days here at the rig.  I did get the oil changed on the car, and stocked up on some groceries that I can only find in this area.  I’ve put a jug of Italian Beef and French rolls in the freezer so I can enjoy some great Italian beef sandwiches somewhere down the road.  The meats here in the deli’s in the Chicago area are also so much better than what I’ve found in other parts of the country, that I’ve also packaged and frozen 16 bags of lunchmeat.  Don’t know if I’ve mentioned lately that I really love the huge freezer on the residential fridge that I had installed in the rig, but I’m taking advantage of it now.  I’ll be able to take some of my favorite eating items with me as I head south for the winter.


Not much happening at the bird feeders also.  Just the late breeding American goldfinches and a few tufted titmice come to feed.  The rose-breasted grosbeaks have moved on, and other than the song of an occasional wood peewee, it’s been pretty quiet in the woods. 


Robyn did send me an email entitled “We have lift off!”  She sent me this picture.  I’m so happy at least one of the butterflies emerged out of the chrysalis stage.  Wish I could have been there, but Robyn’s father, my ex, is visiting this week, so I wanted to allow her time to enjoy his visit without me around. 

Emma’s retractable leash died this morning.  I took it apart and tried to fix it, but alas, that didn’t work.  Guess I’ll be going to a Pet-Co or something like that tomorrow.


I heard a little rattling sound coming from the bottom drawer under the stove on Friday, and sure enough, when I investigated, there was another young little mouse caught in the trap.  Out came the leather gloves and long tongs again!  This one wasn’t caught by its snout, but had one of it’s front legs caught in the trap.  Out the door we flew into the dark woods.  After I released him, he ran up a tree.  I’m thinking this site is going to be an ADA designated handicapped mouse site once I leave!  Smile with tongue out

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wishing I had a partner today

I’ve been procrastinating about getting the oil changed on the car the last couple of weeks, and today was no exception to that.  I’m really going to do it tomorrow…really.  I did decide to tackle one of the other jobs I’ve been putting off.  I needed to dump the tanks, and before I could do that I had to install a new sewer hose.  The Rhino-flex that I’ve had for about four years has sprung several leaks which can be just a little too fragrant when I pull the plug on the tanks, besides being tired of doing a little jitterbugging with one foot on the end to miss the little sprays.  I thought maybe I could replace the original 15’ hose with a 5’ Rhino extension hose that has been sitting in one of the bins unused for as long.  I gave it the good old college try, but I just couldn’t get that elbow that goes into the sewer hole detached from the old hose.  I had purchased a whole new dump hose with the universal dump end a week or so ago, but I was hoping to use the short Rhino.  So, it was bag all that stuff up for the dumpster, and put the new hose on.  It went smoothly enough, but it’s just one of those “blue” jobs that is not a favorite for me.  It would be nice to have a man around the house.  Confused smile

I also chose to make something for dinner in the convection oven for the first time.  I’ve been a little leery of the convection oven, and I haven’t made the pork shoulder steak over sliced potatoes recipe in about 20 years.  Everything went well until I opened the drawer to get my oven mitts out.  I’ve kept a mouse trap in that drawer since I got back from my ill fated trip to South Dakota to renew my license.  I had noticed some calling cards in that drawer when I got back.  As I reached in for the mitts, I noticed the mousetrap, and it was moving!  Oh yuck!!  I wish I could scream, as I would have belted out a good one.  The trap had caught the mouse by the snout, and it was wriggling around.  Ugh!  Where is a man when you need one? 

Being the wimp about mice that I am, I put on some leather gloves, and then picked up the trap with the wriggling mouse attached using a long set of outdoor tongs.  Out the door I rushed, with the mouse held at full arms length in front of me, and into the woods.  I released it there.  It was stunned, but was later gone.  Now I suppose I’ll have to do battle with this mouse again, but as it looked up at me I just couldn’t stomp on it.  Sad smile  I know, I’m a wuss.  I did reload the trap, and also the one in the outside storage area where I think they come in.  I must say, it about ruined my appetite for dinner…

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Most often asked question

I got to reminiscing about my five plus years on the road this afternoon.  What a marvelous time I’ve had so far.  Yes, there have been those times that I’d rather forget about; like time in repair facilities and a drunken construction worker, but overall it’s been a wild ride.  I’m anxious to see what the next five years has to hold.

Other than the “You drive that thing yourself?” question, the most often asked question that I get is, “What’s been your favorite place?”  For the first four years of my travels, I’ve been at a loss to pick a favorite location.  I just couldn’t choose between Bryce Nat’l Park, or Laguna Atascosa NWR in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, or the fish hatchery experience in Oregon, or any of the other hundreds of experiences I’ve had.  I won’t even go into all the fantastic people I’ve met along the way. 

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But, this afternoon I finally decided to come up with an answer to that question.  The two months I spent last summer exploring Yellowstone National Park has to rank at the top for me.  If you ignore the crowds, the raw wildness of this place calls to me much like Alaska does.  The wildlife, the geo-thermal activity, and the incredible vistas just hold a special place in my heart. 

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Second to Yellowstone, for me, would have to be the time I spent traveling the scenic byways of Idaho.  I’ve driven many a scenic byway in other states, but they pale in comparison to the back roads of Idaho.  We all have our own ideas of what captures our spirit, and these two areas do it for me.  I, however, plan to continue to look for other places in the country that may dethrone these two icons for me. 

53 Anahuac NWR 2010

I would be remiss if I didn’t include Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge in my list of favorite places.  After all, I have returned there enough times to make it my home away from the road for parts of most winters.  In about two weeks, I’ll be wandering my way back down there for another three months.  I know I’ll enjoy my time there, but Yellowstone, Idaho, and Alaska will still continue to call to my spirit.

Where are your favorite places of the heart?  I know AL, and the Bayfield Bunch, would choose the southwest desert, but how about the rest of you?

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Adler Planetarium

A couple of days ago, I called my sister, Pam, and asked her if she’d like to change our planned trip for today.  Instead of going to the Chicago Botanical Garden, we met at the Adler Planetarium.  Robyn was able to come also since she could postpone her life vest appointments until the afternoon.  The grandgirls just aren’t old enough for this kind of outing, so they spent the day at the day care place.

Robyn had stayed over last night, and we had a great time chit chatting without two little ones running us ragged.  She left the rig first thing this morning so she could stop at home before I followed to her house so we could travel together.


If you’ve been to Chicago, you know that many of the museums and such are located right along the Lake Michigan shoreline. 


                                                            That’s Copernicus, of course. 

I haven’t been to the Planetarium since I was a kid.  The inside has changed a lot, even though the outside still looked the same to me.  I knew Pam wanted to see the new “Deep Space Adventure” show, but what I didn’t know was that she is a member of the planetarium and had some free passes for Robyn and me. 


What that pass meant was it saved each of us $28 for admission and two shows.  Considering it cost $16 just to park the car, I was thrilled.  I guess, sometimes, it’s worth having an older sister.  Winking smile

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There really wasn’t much inside that lead itself to taking pictures of other than these two space travelers.  I twisted Robyn’s arm into putting her face into one of the kid’s displays…she’s still my kid, you know.

The Deep Space Adventure was not at all what I expected.  It is hard to describe.  When I was a kid, you went into the domed auditorium and gazed up at a 360* dome of the night sky and learned about the constellations.  This program today was a totally different experience, and brought to mind all the advances in movie technology.  At one point, I had to close my eyes because I was feeling a little dizzy from all the things whirling around me.  It was more of a production than a learning experience for me.  I enjoyed it, but left a little bit bewildered by the experience. 

IMG_3081Luckily, we arrived a little before Pam did, and I was able to get a much closer shot of the Chicago skyline than I was able to do yesterday.

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As you can tell, the skies were very overcast, and the rains began as soon as we got inside the planetarium.  The rains continued for the rest of the day, and have only now taken a break.  More storms are forecasted for tonight.  Had the weather been better, I sure would have liked to go over to Buckingham Fountain and Grant Park for some pictures.  Guess I’ll have to do that on some future visit.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Monday, August 22, 2011

Whiting Park

I had packed a lunch last night, so Emma and I were on the road bright and early to head for Whiting Park.  Jack-in-the-Box, my GPS, guided us there.  He chose a very interesting route.  It went right through a heavy industrial area near the lake with about 8000 turns along the way.  We made it though.
These two signs accosted us as we entered the park.  First of all, since my car has South Dakota plates, the parking rate was $15!  Then there was the matter of Emma in the back seat.  Sick smile  What’s a girl to do?
My solution was to not park anywhere, not eat my picnic lunch at a table, and not let Emma out of the car.  Thank goodness it was early on a Monday morning, and there were no attendants on duty to collect any fees.
I also did not walk or sunbathe on the mile long beach.  Staying in the car while visiting a nice park is the pits!
Needless to say, our visit was quite brief.  My main reason for coming here was to see the beautiful Chicago Skyline that was promised in the brochure I had.  The weatherman even said there would be no haze this morning as the humidity was down.
It is 11 miles as the gull flies from the beach to the skyscrapers.  Somehow, I expected the view to be more breath taking.  Sad smile  Oh well, I guess you just can’t believe everything you read in the promotional materials.
I bid farewell to the young gulls, and Emma and I headed back the fifty-some miles to the campground where I unpacked my lunch and ate it inside the rig.
On the bright side, Robyn will be arriving late this afternoon to spend the night with me.  It’s a girls night out for her without the grandgirls.  I haven’t had a sleep over in a long time.  Smile

Thanks for stopping by... talk to you later,  Judy