Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Sarah's parents coming in today. Looks like they are going to stay for a week. Will be crowded, but happy. Michael woke up early this morning, saying, "It feels like a holiday. Papa's coming today." Cute kid.

Out our back window, there is a canal that is dry most of the time. Every three weeks or so, some gate somewhere is opened and water flows about 8 inches deep. The cool thing is that deer roam about back there and it is fun to watch them while sitting at the computer.

It was a good Christmas. Michael noticed that he didn't quite get as many presents on Christmas day as he had expected. I had to tell him that was an unfortunate side effect of having this be his fourth Christmas. One at Sarah's parents, one at the B&B ranch, one with his friend Ace and then finally, Christmas morning. Max got a bucket full of football guys and was happy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Not a tremendous amount to report these days, thus the sparsity of posts. We have spent time traveling to see family. There isn't much scenic family friendly adventure here in Del Rio. There are some cave paintings nearby which we want to see, but have not yet been able. We were thwarted in our one attempt so far.

We bought a tent and have our eyes on some nice sleeping bags for future camping purposes. That was Sarah and my Christmas presents to each other.

We are headed back to Houston, for the third time, this weekend to see family yet again and to exchange presents.

Michael stayed in Houston this time and this means five days away from all of us, we miss him. It has been nice to have Max time though. He is such a cute kid and thrives under the direct undiluted attention.

Sarah and I went running today of all things. 7 minutes. I am trying a time rather than a distance goal. We toyed with the idea of setting a goal to run a marathon in a year. We will see how that goes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Just an all too infrequent check in. We are settled into the park here in Del Rio. It is an old mobile home park converted to an RV park. The work to get into the site and get set up was more than we are used to, but I think it was worth it. We have a fenced in yard in a lot that was sized for a double wide trailer. Livin' high on that hog!

The hospital is small, very small. It is quite an adjustment and I am not looking forward to the inevitable adjustment going back to a bigger ER. Today I went three hours at a stretch without a patient. None.

Tomorrow we head out for Houston to see doctors and dentists and mechanics, oh my! It will be very good to see the family as we miss them very much. I am even going to try to step into my Kaju class again for a night.

Michael is taken over by the materialistic spirit of Christmas. Took one Target catalog. Max is busy testing every boundary there is and finding new ones all the time. He is also attempting to use crying and whining to achieve his ends. Need to get that nipped. Life progresses and we are still exploring it. There is a somewhat historic canyon here we want to explore. There are some fish in the lake I want to amuse. I say Judge Roy Bean's grave the other day. All good in the adventure life.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Del Rio

WE made it to Del Rio. 1860 miles in 6 days. That was tiring. There was some beautiful scenery and we got to add two more stickers to Irv. Now there is a Colorado shaped hole in the map that we need to fill.

During the drive I told Max I couldn't reach some toy he had dropped. He said it made him sad. I told him that's OK, we can be sad together and I put on a pouty lip. Max told me no, Mommy's and Daddy's don't can't be sad, they can only be angry.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hell's Canyon

WE drove up to Hell's Canyon the other day. IT is the deepest river gorge in North America, up to 8000 feet in places. Of course, we only had one day and it takes 3+hours just to get there. Sigh. Up it goes on the list of places we need to go back and spend more time.

The kids were really uninterested for the most part.

WE drove down along the river and never even made it to the canyon rim. Ahh...A reason to return.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The story of the Adventure Nickel

I don't know that I have ever posted the story before.

The story of the Adventure Nickel.

Way back when in 2004, before children, Sarah was a travel agent. One of the perks of this job was the occasional free plane ticket. She somehow managed to wrangle two free tickets to anywhere. On a previous trip she had befriended a tour guide from Greece who agreed to put us up for a week if we could make it over. We spent a lot of time at his apartment that week because he had to work and we didn't know our way around. When he was off, he took us to some interesting places and Sarah and I learned his neighborhood pretty well. As the week wore on though we grew tired of sitting on his balcony or goofing off at the park across the street. We decided we had to get out and see the city even if we didn't have a guide. After all, there are only so many, “It's all Greek to me” jokes you can make while in an apartment. Out in the city, the jokes are endless. So we decide to go to see the Parthenon on the Acropolis. When you are in Athens, getting to the Acropolis is easy. Flag down a taxi and say 'Parthenon' or 'Acropolis'. Sarah and I had a lovely day exploring the Acropolis and the Roman Agora. It was beautiful. The trouble started when we tried to get back to his apartment. You see, we had a map of Athens, but our friend's house was just off the bottom border of the map. The name of the street is apparently pretty common. We went through several taxis trying to explain ourselves. Some tried to understand. One left as soon as he realized we didn't speak Greek. We were left with trying to catch a bus.
We wandered out until we found a bus stop. It didn't take long to realize that because of the level of detail, our map and the bus map didn't really correlate very well. We couldn't figure out which bus to get on. We tried a bus driver or two before we decided to walk. Now, we were going from one side of Athens to a place off the map on the other side. But, there was a distinct radio tower on a hill we could see from the balcony of the apartment and we knew where the ocean was. I figured that if we could just keep moving until those two objects were in their correct relative places we would be fine. Sarah wasn't so sure. She was pretty sure she knew which bus to get on. I didn't trust the bus because it could potentially take us further away. We eventually found a grocery store where we found someone who could speak enough English and could tell us which bus she thought would take us to where she thought we needed to go. So we went to the nearest bus stop and waited. And waited. Four or five buses came and went without being the one we wanted. By this time we had been walking for about two hours across an unfamiliar city where we didn't speak the language. As we sat, I tried to convince her we could make the walk. It was full dark by this time. I can't recall which one of us came up with the idea to flip a coin, but we did. We pulled out a Greek Nickel and decided to let it make the call. We flipped and the coin told us we were walking. As we left the bus stop shelter it started to rain. For some reason we found this really funny and started laughing. At which time we figured if it was going to be this absurd, why not take it a step further and skip? So there we were, skipping in the dark, in the rain, in Athens and laughing like idiots. It became a lot more fun when there was no longer any uncertainty about what we were doing. We could just get on without questioning if we were doing the right thing. It had been decided and to hell with the outcome. It didn't take long before we recognized the neighborhood surrounding our friend's apartment. We walked there like we had lived there our whole lives. When we told our friend what we had done he looked at us in amazement, 'you can't walk that far!' He also told us that it would not have mattered which bus we took. They all stopped at the stopped across the street from his apartment. Either way would have got us there, the important thing was to decide on one and do it.
So now, if we are faced with a difficult situation and we aren't sure what to do, we put it to the Adventure Nickel, that same coin. Something neat happens when you think you are unsure of what you want to do and you are about to put it to a coin flip. You start to imagine how you will react if the flip goes either way and you just might discover you feel really pretty strongly about it. Then, if you feel strongly, you can debate or discuss it further, but if it gets to the coin flip, it is final. There is no questioning the path once the coin has decided. Right up until the coin launches into the air, there is still time for discussion. After that, it is over.

So there you go.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I had to work on Thursday so Sarah picked Dad up from the airport. I got home around midnight and talked with Dad for a bit while Sarah went to bed. Up bright and early the next morning and we got on the road around 1030. Then we proceeded to drive...and drive.

We took the Interstate route because it would be faster we assumed. It was also well known to us and we just didn't feel like risking wasting time getting there. We had Myself, Sarah, Dad, Michael, Max and Satchel in the truck pulling the house along behind us. We ran the numbers and it was about a wash money wise so we decided to take the house and have all our stuff with us.

There were repeated bathroom breaks and food stops and fuel stops. IT took a bit longer than we anticipated to get there and about 20 miles or so from our destination it grew even darker and started raining. Boo. We got there and it was around 40 degrees and raining. Not the most fun setup. Luckily we pulled in and were there. No back and forth jockeying for position. We got set up, got in and dried off.

Of course we sat up too late talking and tossing back some wine, but it was worth it.

The next morning dawned and we got to have a good look at our campground.

Then we drove the 20 miles to Yellowstone. Dad decided he would pay for the entrance fee. It is either $25 per vehicle and $16 per person or you can buy an annual pass that gets you and anyone in your vehicle in for $50 for one year. So Dad gets his card and his ID out and the ranger asks if Dad wants to buy a Senior pass which gets everyone in the vehicle in and it is a lifetime pass...the price, $10. Yes and thank you.

There is too much pretty in Yellowstone. Spending 9-10 hours a day for two days there covered about 70% of the 15% of the park that is covered by the main roads. Barely a scratch. It was amazing. If you want to see more pictures, friend me on Facebook here unless you already are a friend, then just go look. I will put up one or two of my favorites here though.

During some of the drive my Dad would tell Michael a story. You could tell by listening that he was making it up on the spot. The stories were fantastic and silly and Michael ate them up. He would video tape them with the flip camera and then watch them again as soon as the story was over and the many minutes were filled with the sound of, "Do you have a story yet?", "Nope, it's still percolating." They were awesome.

Poor Satchel spent most of the trip sitting in the truck underneath the feet of Michael and Max. We got him out whenever we could but they don't let dogs on many of the trails. It was awesome and amazing and we can't wait to do it again. Hopefully we can stay longer next time.

We ate too much fast food in the truck, drank too much wine at home after long days driving and told too many stories. It was wonderful.

Then we drove home. This time we stayed off the Interstate. This let us drive past some more scenic territory and visit Craters of the Moon again. This time we got to drive the loop and see a bit more of the place. Still couldn't stay long. I did get a good picture of Flo and Irv hitched up in front of the Grand Tetons.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Getting ready.

In between work shifts we are getting ready for my Dad to arrive. Then on to Yellowstone. I'm really looking forward to the trip and I think Dad is too. The air conditioner hasn't worked for the past three days and I finally tracked down the problem today and fixed it.

I'm taking tomorrow off to watch football.

My next day off is Wednesday and I will be taking the time to do final pre travel checks on IRV. Tire pressure and whatnot.

Working on some interesting ideas. We will see.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quiet day today

Got some shopping done. It is the last day Grandma and Papa are in town. Just took it pretty easy. Two fun little quote from the day. One will remain anonymous.

Driving through Boise today I was reminded of how different is it from your typical big city when I heard, "You know, the people walking down here don't look homeless."

Then there was Max who walked up, kissed Sarah on the chest and then kissed me on the chest. Looks up and smiles before saying, "I kissed you on your heart."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Steam train

Today we loaded up Sarah's parents and took them adventuring. All the way up to Sumpter OR. WE had planned this particular excursion prior to finding out they were coming so they got to come along. IT is an old steam train that runs between Mckewn and Sumpter. About a 40 minute trip with an hour layover or so. That gave us time to go see the Sumpter Dredge. This huge barge with a linked bucket dredge carved this valley up in search of gold. It left huge piles of gravel and rocks and a weird canal system you can see from google earth. It's crazy. If you want, go to Google maps and then go to Baker City OR and then scroll WSW to Sumpter and if you are zoomed in close enough you will see the trail this thing left all over the valley.

It was hot, not as hot as most of the country, but still hot. A good adventure day.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Big days

Today was a banner day. Big times for any young boy.

Yup, Michael rode his bike today without training wheels and didn't crash once. We are very proud of him. He has only tried a few times without the training wheels. Max zoomed along all around us on his new training wheel bike. Then everything stopped when we saw this...

Yep all action for two little boys stops when a garter snake crosses the path.

Michael called it the best day ever. Max did too. Of course 20 minutes later Max said it was the worst day ever because he didn't want to eat his sandwich. Ahhh, the fickle finger of Max.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Daily life

I can't recall if I mentioned it in any past posts and quite frankly, I'm too lazy to look. Sarah and I bought bicycles off of Craigslist and have been riding most days. With her parents here we have even been able to ride together, which has been nice. Now, two out of the four rides we have taken together have ended in flat tires. Plus another from a solo ride thrown in for good measure. They have each been caused by thorns. The thorns here mean business! Sarah stepped on one the other day and lost some blood over it.

We had a good time at the fair yesterday. There we turned one kid into a motorcycle racer.

And the other into a hamster.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Sarah's parents are in town. We are keeping it pretty low key. Hanging out at the house, letting them soak up some grandkid time. We did make it out to the Peregrine Fund Birds of Prey center Just South of Boise. Birds of prey know they're cool.

The noisy fair is going on next door. Because of the fair, the RV park is full. We can hear the rides and the concerts from our bedroom. The tornado fans we bought in Poplar Bluff to white out the road noise continue to earn their keep. Might have to turn them off when Kool and the Gang or Cheap Trick plays though. Woohooo!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Crater Lake

Here we go.

WE left Cave Junction and headed back the way we came. Sarah is excellent at planning our trips and we rarely backtrack, but sometimes it is inevitable. About 30 miles of backtracking an we got again to new road. We climbed. This was also the last day we would have Interstate for a while. The Interstate is not usually as interesting, but interesting isn't always fun when you are near 60 feet long and almost 13 feet tall.

We wound our way through mountains for a few hours and drove to the campground like we lived there. It only took 30 minutes or so to set up, by this time we were pretty good at it. Then we went driving around to explore the town Prospect, OR. Less than five miles away and we found waterfalls and a gorge on the Rogue River.

Afterward we went up to Flounce Rock, a viewpoint that was mapped out on the back of a flyer the campground gave us. Great views. Hondo (That is what Michael named the Honda Civic.) lived up to his adventure car billing and carried us up 10% pot hole filled gravel road grades. We reached the top and explored for a while. At the official Flounce Rock viewpoint someone placed a memorial for a loved one lost in a helicopter crash during the Vietnam war. Pretty cool.

We made our way back to the campground, cooked some food and got some rest, the next day was Crater Lake. We had a drive of an hour or so up to the Lake. When we got there it became apparent that despite being July, many of the roads were closed due to snow. Less than half of the rim drive was open. We did get to drive around and look for a few hours and we sat and had a picnic lunch on a wall overlooking a 1000 foot drop to the lake. Beautiful spot. Then we drove home. It was a bit of a letdown that we couldn't see as much as we wanted, but that is life sometimes. It just gives us a good excuse to go back.

Boise and bicycles

I haven't been updating lately. We have settled into life here. Being this close to the Boise Green Belt, Sarah and I bought a couple of cheap mountain bikes off of Craigslist and now try to ride every day. It feels good to get out and get active.

I have been working a day on, day off schedule lately. Cramps the adventure style as the one day off seems too short to plan much. I sleep late because I get home late and I have to work the next day.

The real reason I haven't been updating much lately though is because I got started reading a new series of books. It is hard to pull away from a good book to write a blurb about what you did today when what I did today wasn't very interesting and that book sure is.

Oh well.

I will get back and finish the trip report. Still have to write about Crater Lake and the John Day fossil beds. And we may soon be doing things here worth writing about again.

The fun news is that Sarah's parents are coming up to visit for a few days. They started their drive this morning and will be here in a couple of days. We will try to avoid running them ragged while they are here. It will be good to see them again. I know they miss the boys.

Back to the book.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cave Junction

We arrived in Cave Junction and set about to look at the town. It is a cute little touristy town with plenty to see and do for its population of slightly less than 2000. There is a place filled with whimsical and delightful wood carvings of all shapes and sizes. It was closed, but we stopped to take a look. There is also a big cat park, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Cats_World_Park We decided to stop in. It was too late for the full tour, but we got an abbreviated tour for an abbreviated price. Each cat or pair of cats has it's own 1-1.5 acre enclosure. The guide told us that many of the cats are used for movies and photo shoots so there is a lot of interaction. She would go up to the fence, call the cat and give commands. She carried around a fanny pack full of raw meat to reward the cats. Some was beef and some was what she was careful to call 'equine'. The kids would have been fascinated to think of horse meat, but it seemed weird to tell her to go ahead and call it horse.

It was a really cool visit. The cats would snarl and growl on command. It had a significant physical effect for a full grown male lion to growl at you from 2 feet away. If you are ever in Cave Junction, look it up. It's hard to miss.

The next day we got up and drove South into California. After about an hour and a half of driving we ended up in Jedidiah Smith Redwood forest. Our first stop was Stout Grove. It is a serene and amazing grove of large redwood trees and easy walk from a parking lot. Very picturesque. Lots of people, but still quiet.

We skipped past that to an obscure trail I heard about and hiked 2-3 miles back through more redwoods, passing no people. We weren't sure we would find it. Since we knew we would be hiking a while, I carried Max on my shoulders most of the way. Michael again walked. He is a trooper. Eventually we found it.

The Grove of the Titans.

These trees are so amazingly huge and majestic that I cannot adequately communicate it in words. I have pictures, but they don't really do it justice. We wandered about the grove through 6 foot tall sword ferns looking at the Titans. Sarah's phone battery was dead so we didn't get as many pictures as we wanted. I got turned around and missed the Lost Monarch. The kids were tired and started getting grumpy. Had it just been me, I could have stayed there for hours. Someday I hope to return and do just that.

Also reminds me that we should really buy a good camera. The phone does a good job, but it isn't a dedicated camera. Maybe someday. After we hiked back out, we got lost on one of the more public and crowded trails. There was a rather ambiguous sign. It added a mile or two to our hike. Easy peasy on the rarely used backwoods trail. Get us on the well trodden trail and we get lost. Awesome.

We drove a dusty dirt road through the forest and ended up in Crescent City. Then we headed South again to find one of the Drive Through trees. We drove the Civic through the tree. It was a good day and one I will remember for a good long time.

We drove home and got some rest. The next day was back North Northeast and on to Crater Lake.


OK, at some point I will get around to doing a trip report for the rest of the trip. For now though, we are settled in Boise, getting to know the new place and the new job. The adjustment period.

This time there are no jagged snow capped peaks or 600 ft waterfalls beckoning and insisting that you go immediately. There are beautiful areas here and some that we are really looking forward to, just not immediately.

It is really nice getting back to a computer charting system at work. Paper charting sucks. We keep hearing reports of horrible heat across the country. So far we have managed to avoid most of the worst of it. It is mid 90's here most days, a few 80's and even fewer 100's. Heck we didn't even use the AC in Vancouver. It is nice to finally dry out after the constant moisture further West.

Spent today at a local pool. Tired in a good way.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Oregon Coast Aquarium

OK, when last we spoke we were swimming with a cold penis in the pool outside of Corvallis. The next day we drove to the coast and saw the Oregon Coast Aquarium. That was pretty cool. Michael was excited to see the giant Pacific Octopus and the Wolf Eel. We walked through the underwater tube with sharks circling above and other fish in different tanks. One of them even had some divers in cleaning everything up. I overheard one parent using this as a teaching moment about how everything needed to be cleaned even if you had to get in a SCUBA suit to do it.

We made our way over to the octopus display and there was no sign of him. Couldn't see anything. We thought maybe he wasn't even there. Very disappointing. So we went to see sea otters. Then on to the tide pool area where you can touch things, a big hit. It is a nice aquarium, if you are in the area I do recommend it. After a bit we moseyed back over to the octopus tank. Still nothing there. I searched and searched and finally found it stuffed into a back corner blending in to his environment very well. Then I saw a tentacle move. I called Michael over and he stood front and center while the octopus came out and posed right in front of him. Too cool. It sat there and made itself look big, changed shades of gray and then retreated again to the corner where it seemed to disappear. Pretty cool stuff.

We wandered around and saw more fish, jelly fish and other neat stuff. Took lots of pictures and even bought Michael and Max stuffed animals. Michael wanted a Wolf Eel until we hit the parking lot and then he decided he should have bought a Moray Eel. Max wanted a sea otter and seemed quite happy with his choice.

Then we went home, had dinner and chillaxed for the rest of the day. After that, it was on to Mountain Man RV park in Cave Junction. I know I am behind a few days, but I'll catch up.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Two more notes from today

First, the water at this campground is, Sarah and I have decided, the worst in the world we have experienced. That covers a large chunk of the USA, some Mexico and Canada, much of Europe, Hong Kong, Persian Gulf, the Carribean...all better than here. Sulpher and metal. Awful.

Second, the pool water is cold, so cold that Michael screamed at the top of his lungs at the pool, as he entered, "It's so cold on my penis!"

Travel Day

Today we went from Vancouver WA to just outside Corvallis OR. 102 miles. Easy enough drive, but too much traffic for my taste. Now it is sunny and hot and time for the pool. We woke up to this back window...

And will go to sleep to this back window...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

That's it.

Another contract in the books. Worked late last night, didn't get home til after 5 am. That wasn't any fun, but the upside was that I got pictures on my phone of sunrise over Mt. St. Helens. That was cool.

Trying to make better use of the features found here. Let's see if they work.

So now we are off for two weeks worth of adventure before the next contract starts. I have some pictures to upload to facebook from the past week or two and we have some work to do still today to get ready for hauling Irv around. Hopefully the posts can come a little more frequent again as we move around and do stuff.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Every once in a while

It doesn't happen often, but when it does...

Sometimes you can help a patient beyond what is normally offered in the ED. It isn't a prescription, or a bandage, or suture. Sometimes it is who you are and what you have experienced placed through words and into someone at just the right time. Those moments when you see a light turn on when previously there was only darkness and pain are awesome. Sympathy and encouragement are powerful tools when they are appropriate. Just like any other medication though, they shouldn't be overused.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Portland music

So, only one of these artists is actually from the Portland area, but these three songs are the soundtrack for this visit for me. They got a lot of radio play while we were here and I didn't hear them before this trip. Of course, we would have to add Katy Perry to the list because Michael has fallen in love with her.

Portland soundtrack for me:

The Decemberists - This is Why We Fight
The Black Keys - Howlin For You
Mumford and Sons - Little Lion Man.

And anything by Katy Perry. Yeah, I said it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Path of least resistance/free will

Up late last night and I couldn't think. This is the result.

I think that most people tend to take the path of least resistance in their lives. Because of genetic disposition and environmental factors as well as parental upbringing, these paths are varied and as individual as we are. I believe that this is often called being true to yourself.

It doesn't always look this way to the individual concerned or to an outsider. Many people naturally are drawn to relentless activity or chaos. The echoes of actions of their ancestors combined with their personality type might mean they routinely feign illness, choose abusive partners or other lifestyle choices which are seen as anything but easy. I wonder if maybe it is easy. You see, it requires no analysis of who they are or who they want to be. They simply react in the way most natural to them.

There are many who would say this is a good thing. You are becoming true to yourself. You are developing into the best 'you' you can be. I believe there is a school of thought that states that when you are on your true path, the universe will help you and many things will be easier. If I recall, Joseph Campbell espoused that type of view and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. I can see where this line of thinking could be true and you could find happiness there.


But then I ask myself where is your free will in this scenario? If you are following the path of least resistance in your life aren't you simply expressing the thoughts, feelings and teachings of your forebears in the way most efficiently expressed by your genetic predisposition? If you feel no resistance and your life seems to just be passing you by maybe you should question why you are doing things that way. Perhaps we are conditioned to this easy passage, I don't see how we couldn't be. Every time you question too deeply or act in a way you decide rather than a way that is natural, you get resistance. It could come from those around you when you cease to behave in a way with which they agree or they are capable of understanding. It could come from you as you question your own identity. "Can I even do that?"

Interesting question, to me anyway. The next question is: "Does it really matter?"

That's what happens when Max wakes me up at 3am and I can't get back to sleep.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Being a man.

A few things have come together lately that got me thinking. This post is the result.

I am raising two boys. I am going to have to try to teach them about being a man. What does that even mean. I regularly frequent sites, blogs and lists about self defense topics and often the macho BS runs high. There seems to be a current running through this society that thinks having the ability to hurt someone and the willingness to do so makes one a man. I would disagree...kind of.

You see, I think that the essence of being a man is the willingness to do what no one else wants to. If that means digging a well knowing that you will still have to work afterword when you are sore and in pain, you do it. If that means cleaning the warm vomit out of the rug when your child is sick in the night, you do it. If that means letting your ego eat a poop sandwich because it is more important that you lose face than lose your job, you do it. You do it, you smile and you work hard so that maybe next time you won't have to.

We all have seen that movies, read the books and whatever other source of entertainment you would like to choose. They show the man stopping the bad guy. Killer Kung Fu, Master of the Sword or Mace, Gunslinger, these are the men set up as idols.

I have an idea as to what went wrong. In the older movies and many of the stories, this man was set up as the hero precisely because he was willing to go and do the dirty work. Because of the background of the audience living in harsher times, they knew that. The audience understood, and I think that it was somewhat more emphasized, that the hero was not assured of success. Maybe he was even scared. That is where being a man comes in. You are so scared you are about to pee on yourself. You know, going in, that this might change you forever and the odds are good that it won't be in a positive way and you do it anyway because it needs to be done.

Being such a badass that you aren't afraid doesn't make you a man. Hurting or killing things doesn't make you a man. Understanding that life is sometimes unpleasant and requires you to do some unpleasant things is a good start. Learning to deal with those unpleasant things is a step. Doing what needs to be done, not just what you want to do, that makes you a man.

Oh yeah, I work in the emergency room as a nurse, I am surrounded by woman who do this. It isn't just about being a man, it turns a girl into a woman too. It is not about being a man, it is about being an adult.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dozer Days

Took the kids to Dozer Days. This is where a local business or group of businesses got together and set up an event at a local quarry. They set up bulldozers, excavators, backhoes, and other construction equipment and, with the regular operator on board, they let the kids up to ride and 'operate' the equipment. Great fun for kids and it looked like it raised a ton of money for local children's charities. I don't see why there aren't more of these in different places. Another check mark for cool things in this area. They are mounting up.

Friday, May 13, 2011

You meet the nicest people

In an RV.

One of our neighbors here turns out to be a really nice guy, then another, then another. Did I mention the really friendly and helpful people we met at Omega Farms outside of Houston. It seems that RV folks as a whole are really very friendly.

We went and explored more yesterday and then took today off. It was a good day for that. Beautiful. Sure, it was really nice outside and would have been a great day for more exploring. But, there was a couple with kids around Michael and Max age who was leaving soon and they all had a blast playing outside and exploring the park. I practiced some Kaju out in the field behind the house and Sarah got to spend some time hanging out in the sun reading her book. Of course, there were chores to be done, there always are, but they didn't seem onerous. They just seemed to fit into the flow of the day. It was nice, relaxing. THe adventures will have to wait another day. There are so many around here that I don't foresee us getting to 2/3 of what we want to do. I guess that might just give us a reason to visit again someday.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

To all you mothers out there and all you do.

Thank you.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Class time!

Had a wonderful treat this weekend. Got to go to a class with someone whose work I have admired for some time. I got some top-notch information that I can use in tense. fast moving situations that is also scalable and I can use it in day to day interactions. It is awesome when you get knowledge handed to you like that.

One of the goals of my travel nursing is to find some idea of 'emergency room'. Determine the fundamental skills, processes and ideas that are the same pretty much wherever you go in this society. Each emergency room does things a different way, but they all have a 'go to' person for IV starts when you just have to have one. A skilled difficult stick person is valuable wherever you go.

Rory Miller and Marc MacYoung have done this type of analysis for years on interpersonal conflict and have a tremendous insight into that subject. I got to attend Rory's class. The people he teaches are generally on the high end of interpersonal conflict, prison guards, security workers, cops and the like so the classes focus more in those areas. As someone who regularly deals with psychiatric patients in crisis and others who can be prone to violent behavior, this information is important to me as well. The beauty, the true profundity of what they teach and know is the scalability of it. They have isolated enough of the core of conflict that the same concept they present that will cause and all out bar brawl will be behind inter office squabbles, family arguments and on and on. This is information that everyone can use.

A good time and a good class that got my mind working. I love that.

If you are interested, if you don't know of Rory and Marc you can find more about them at these links.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Waterfall hiking

We had a plan, we really did. We were going to drive down to the Gorge and Check out Multnomah falls. Then we were going to drive down to Hood river and follow it back to Mt. Hood. A leisurely drive around the mountain with an occasional stop for pictures then back home. I have to work tomorrow after all. That isn't what happened.

We started out OK. Got distracted and decided, on a the recommendation of a local, to get on scenic Hwy 30 which parallels I-84. Well, there was a sign for Vista House and we just had to go look at that. Turns out we had seen it coming in and wondered what the heck it was. Good to satisfy curiosity like that sometimes. We noticed, on the way up, a couple of waterfalls. The most impressive of these was one called Latourell Falls. Go ahead, look it up. Pretty cool huh. We got back on the road and started back toward Multnomah Falls and passed another one called Wahkeena Falls. Sarah and Michael got out since Max had fallen asleep. I stayed in the car with Max. Sarah came back and told me Michael thought it was amazing and I had to go look. She stayed with Max while I went. It was pretty cool. I noticed a bridge well up the falls and wondered aloud to Sarah how far it was. We found a sign and it said 0.2 miles. We also noticed a sign on the road pointing to a trail saying Multnomah was 0.5 miles to the West. OK...easy enough. I can carry Max 0.2 miles. We made it to the bridge and saw a sign saying Multnomah lodge with an arrow pointing up. We asked a nearby hiker how far it was and he said it was about a mile and a half. Sarah remembered reading an article that the bridge in front of the falls was 5 miles up a trail. We thought this might be a shortcut.

Turns out there may have been a shortcut called Perdition trail but it was closed. We asked another passing hiker how far it was to Multnomah from where we were and he said maybe a mile or two. Well, we were already a mile or two in and it made as much sense to go a mile more as it did to go a mile back so we kept climbing.

Turns out to have been about a 5.5 mile hike. I checked the map when we got home. We climbed about 1600 feet in elevation and then went back down. Hiked for over 3 hours. Did I mention that I carried Max on my shoulders most of the time since the trail edge was so steep and crumbly? Oh yeah, we didn't bring water, snacks, diapers or anything else with us because we were just going 0.2 miles up to the bridge. Guess what happened to us while we were up there? A snow shower? Ding ding ding!

It was pretty awesome hiking though. The tall forests, the rushing waters and then the stillness of the forest with the sunlight dripping through. Oh yeah, and the spectacular waterfalls.

A special mention is deserved here for Michael. He turned 5 last week. He did the while hike with us today with the exception of a 500-600 yard stretch at the top where I carried him on my shoulders. He did it without complaint and only an occasional, "When are we going to be there?" He smiled and kept right on going. Awesome.

We will hit Mt. Hood another day.

Full trip report

OK, I wrote this out for a group and thought I would share it here for the handful of people who actually read this. It is long...very. Covers pretty much the whole trip according to me. Sarah may have another version.

We left Houston and traveled North to Sanger Texas. Middle Texas delighted us with 90 degree temperatures and lots of sun. For those not familiar with the area, it is mostly flat, hot and green. There were some nice bluebonnet patches along the road, cattle and not much else. Having made this trip Avogadro's number of times I find it difficult to even notice the scenery any more. We arrived in Sanger early afternoon, set up in the park and went to eat. That night, things turned cold on us as a front moved through. We woke up to the frigid temperatures of 50 degrees or so. Brrrrr. :-)

Next day was another short day of driving, we only went shortly North of Oklahoma City to a small town called Guthrie, OK. Pretty little town. My sister drove up and we had a nice visit. Another night out to eat, boy that gets expensive, and to bed for another day of driving the next day. The RV park was situated on an 18 hole par 3 golf course. By this time the temperature had dropped into the 40's. No golf. At this point diesel was around $3.60per gallon. (I know all you international listies may find my whining about fuel prices quite silly, but change can be difficult.) WE tried to keep the drive time down below 6 hours most days to keep the kids from rebelling. As long as we let them out periodically to run about like crazed hyenas they tolerated the confinement surprisingly well.

Next day, continuing North. Drove into Kansas. We had planned on going to a campground in just outside of Salina, but decided to check out a smaller, less expensive place in Assaria Kansas. It was raining and cold but the campground looked cool. They had a pond with a large beach area, rope swings and a water slide leading into the pond. There was a paintball area and lots of surrounding farmland. Looked like it would be a fun place to be when it warmed up. Not so much when we were there. Moved on the next day. I will take a moment here to note that the hawk population of the plains states is in good shape. I frequently saw them sitting on fence posts, power lines, trees and once even on a mile marker sign right on the highway. For some reason Sarah never sees them. Oh yeah, she was driving the Civic while I drove the truck and pulled the house. Usually the dog rode with her and I got the kids. We have walkie talkies that we use while we drive. On to Nebraska.

Next day we drove North...again. I was surprised about how much elevation change there was in Northern Kansas. I thought it was all flat. This was the day that marked the furthest North I had ever progressed in the plains states. I had been to Salina once before to hook up with I-70, but never gone further. Our plan was to go to Kearney NE and then backtrack a bit to see the Great Platte River Road Archway museum. We would stay an extra day to see it and to get some rest. Didn't work out that way. We drove under the archway museum as it does span the Interstate. We were trying to stay at the fairgrounds RV park, but it was just a parking lot in the mud at the fairgrounds which had been torn up recently due to a tractor show. The alternate park Sarah found was a state park on the other side of the freeway, but it didn't have any water services. Well, we decided to go ahead and check out the state park anyway. On the way over we really started to get a sense of the size of the Sandhill crane migration which was going on at the time. Huge V's of the birds flew overhead and flocks of them dotted all of the fields along the roadside. Any time you got out of the car you could hear them by the hundreds or even thousands. Pretty cool. We arrived at the state park and filled up the Fresh water tanks and the one spot in the park you could do so. While filling the tanks I took a look around and noticed that, somewhere between the fairgrounds and the park we had lost the foot pad to one of the stabilizing jacks on the RV. Sucker just fell off somewhere. Tanks full (Between 60 and 90 gallons) we circled the park in search of a good spot. Well, all of them had problems, mostly too small. We found the largest one available and tried to get in there. After much backing, positioning and some nervous moments we found ourselves barely in one spot with no room to put down the jacks because the somewhat flat area meant for the RV dropped off steeply to the sides. There was no way we would fit.

Load everyone back in and drive on. It is getting darker, and colder. Supposed to get down into the 30's that night and everyone was starting to get hungry and cranky. Sarah hopped on her smart phone and found an alternative site a few miles further up the road. And what a site it was. You know those one story motels arranged in a square? This one had set up 8 diagonal RV sites in the square and was renting them at a premium. By this time we didn't care and took what they had. It was reasonably level, had electric and sewer and the bones we found out beside the trailer didn't appear to be human. Looked more like dog. We sat at a nearby Sapp Bros truck stop and had dinner. We decided to press on the next day instead of turning back and going to the archway museum. Instead we would head West into North Platte and see what we could see. We dumped the freshwater tanks to avoid carrying an extra 500lbs with us. Diesel is expensive.

By this time the task of departure and arrival were starting to become a bit more routine. Everything in the house had it's place and we had established where that place was. It reminded me of securing for sea in the Navy. Imagine if you knew your home would be drug across a pot hole at 65 mph or pulled up a 5% grade. Plus there is sliding in the slides and hooking up the utilities. The first few times back on the road this took an hour and a half or so. By the end it was 30-45 minutes. Teamwork. On the short drive we hit a snow storm. Just enough accumulation that when we stopped for fuel (Up to $3.75 or so) Michael and Max could get out and see it. Even make a snowball. They were very excited.

The next day brought us to North Platte fairly early in the day as we weren't too keen on lingering in the courtyard of the NoTell Motel. The drive wasn't far and the set up didn't take long. Sarah the Travel Goddess found us a few interesting things to do. We went to the Golden Spike Tower over looking Bailey yard, the world's largest train yard. http://www.goldenspiketower.com/ It was fun. There was some interesting info about the Orphan trains. We passed and orphanage in Kansas and there was a sign about the orphan trains there too. Interesting story. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orphan_Train WE learned that there is still a significant hobo population and that there is a distinction between a hobo and a bum. There was also quite a bit of information about the North Platte Canteen. A great story. http://npcanteen.net/ca01002.html

Another digression here. Before we left Houston we performed a bit of larceny. As we walked by a house in the neighborhood of a relative we noticed they had some lovely ceramic garden gnomes. The temptation was too great and I took one. I wrote down the address of the residence. At every border crossing and at tourist locales where we stopped we have taken pictures of the children and then a picture of the gnome as though he were a tourist himself. We will be printing and sending the pictures back to his home and will return him next time we are in Houston. :-) There was a cheesy Ft. Kearney gift shop near the RV park. We posed the kids and the gnome in front of various things and took pictures. It was a good day.

The next day brought warnings of high wind advisories. It wasn't too bad In Nebraska, but by the time we hit the Wyoming border it picked up. We were taking 45 mph winds 15 degrees or so off our nose varying to either side with the vagaries of the road direction with gusts reported greater than 55 mph. Even going downhill required pressure on the gas pedal to maintain speed. We dropped the speed from 65 to 45 and pressed on. The weather station on the radio and flashing signs on the roadside were reporting high winds and suggesting no light trailers. At one point we pulled over into a truck parking/chain up area and waited hoping the wind would slack some. It never did. We were 30 miles outside of Laramie, our planned destination. We decided to press on. I didn't find out until later, but the wind was so strong that when we opened the door to get inside the trailer while parked at the chain up area, it ripped two of the three pop rivets securing the hydraulic cylinder to the door and stretched the third out until it was barely securing the door. It would fail two days later. Back on the road. It was tense. We pushed through and made it to Laramie hoping there would be some shelter from the wind. There wasn't. We pulled into the campground and got set mostly up when we realized the water wasn't working. We asked the campground staff and they said it was still off for the winter. We could fill up at the water station at the entrance to the campground. OK...pack everything back up and drive back to the entrance to fill up then back to the site to open everything back up again. Here we encountered a slight problem. We have 5 slide outs. Over each one of these there is a roller awning to help keep water off the top of the slide and prevent leaks. On the windward side of the RV the wind gusts were causing these awnings to act like sails and rock the trailer as well as threatening to pull the rollers from their moorings. We had to fold it up. We spent the night sleeping on chairs in the kid's room with all of the slides rolled in. The next day the wind was a little lower. Enough so that we could open the rest of the slides. The trailer still was rocked by the occasional gust. We debated trying to move on and get out of the wind. Laramie had been one of our planned extra days so we could go to the dinosaur museum at the University of Wyoming and visit the planetarium. Well, you only live once. We decided to stay. The campus of the university is beautiful. Once we got into the town, there was shelter from the wind.

The museum was cool. They had Big Al the Allosauraus. At the Museum of Natural History in Houston they had Big Al 2. This museum had the original. http://www.uwyo.edu/geomuseum/info.asp?p=23116 We toured and learned a lot. The kids loved it. That night we went to the planetarium. Max made it through about ten minutes before I had to take him out and wait in the hallway. Micheal said he was bored but when we got home I took him outside and we were able to find some of the constellations they talked about. You don't see those stars in Houston. The next day we took off with more wind warnings blaring on the radio. All day long fighting 40 mph winds with 50 mph gusts. All the way through Wyoming. Tense, nervous driving. The kids of course, are oblivious. They play and scream and yell just like they did in Kansas. I didn't like driving in Wyoming. It was cold and windy. Night temps in the low 30's high 20's F and days into the 40's. As we passed into Utah, the winds dropped thanks to some real, honest to goodness mountains and the temperature started dropping. When we pulled into the tiny mountain town of Coalville, UT it was around 30. No water here either at the site but we were expecting it this time. We filled up at the entrance to the park and then checked the weather. Spring storm warning. We had seen this one coming. There was a possibility of snow by morning. The park was right along a large, fast moving creek. The creek was level with it's banks. If it didn't snow, it would rain. I worried. When we went to bed I told myself when I woke up that night I would check the creek level. But, I was so tired I didn't wake up, Sarah did. She crawled back into bed and told me it was snowing.

Coalville Utah is gorgeous in the snow. The kids have never really seen snow. Sarah hasn't ever really lived somewhere it snows regularly. It was a new experience for them. We went outside and played, made snowballs and snowmen and snow angels. It snowed about 3-4 inches. Finally the kids just started stomping on the ice covering all the puddles. It was time to drive on. We left and drove North. Utah is gorgeous. The area around Ogden is prettier than I expected. Beautiful mountains and rivers. You Colorado folks may not think much of it but coming from Texas we found it pretty spectacular. We crossed the border into Idaho and stopped at the first rest area to take pictures of the kids and the gnome at the Welcome to Idaho signs. We learned that the area where we stood used to be covered by lake Bonneville. http://geology.utah.gov/online/PI-39/pi39pg01.htm Neat. Our destination for the day was Heyburn ID. We made it in good time and got set up at a nice park with a pretty view. Our plan was to go to the Craters of the Moon national monument. This was another planned extra day. We did make it up to the Crater's of the Moon. Most of the road leading through the park was closed due to snow and an unfortunate breakdown of the snowplow. We walked the first mile of the road and sat through some films at the visitor's center. Took some pictures and turned around to make our way home. When we reached the Interstate we saw again a sign for Shoshone falls. On a whim we decided to go and see it. Between the interstate and the falls was the Snake River Canyon. Holy cow! I didn't know that was there. We also learned that this is where that huge lake went. http://hugefloods.com/Bonneville.html After staring slack jawed at the canyon for a while we drove on to the falls and stared slack jawed there for a while. It is just amazing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshone_Falls We finally pulled away and went home to rescue the dog who had been sitting faithfully at home guarding the house. Good boy.

Next day was a short drive with a planned stop in Fruitland ID. When we arrived we still felt good, the kids were happy so we kept driving. Ended up just outside of Huntington OR I believe it was. Nice place. Far enough off the beaten path that there was no cell service, no TV signal, no internet...nothing. Quite nice actually. Just an RV park sitting on the banks of a branch of the Snake river with large hills/small mountains surrounding. It was peaceful and uneventful.

Got up the next morning and took off. We got up into the mountains just over the border and as we started climbing it began to get cold. There were signs recommending chains. Chains? Really? We had no connections the night before so we hadn't been able to check the weather. We didn't have any chains. No one else was stopping so we pressed on. Soon it began to snow with rapid accumulation. It didn't take long until we couldn't see 20 feet off the roadside and the only visible pavement on the road was the two tire tracks in the right lane. Our speed dropped to 40. Every once in a while a big rig would blast past in the left, one even fishtailing as it passed. Not good. The visibility and road conditions grew bad enough that I started looking for places to stop. The problem was that the exits were all drifting over and I didn't believe that I could drive the truck with the trailer safely through one and I certainly wouldn't make it back on anytime soon. We have four wheel drive on the truck, not the trailer. More tight grip driving while the kids play on. Slowly we caught up to a small convoy of 5-6 RVs. The one directly in front of us was a Cardinal fifth wheel with an Alberta license plate. I figured they were probably good, experienced winter weather drivers and they didn't have chains. IF they could make it, so could we. And we did. 20 minutes or so later we descended below the snow line and were simply driving down a 6% grade in the rain. No sweat.

I drive fairly slowly so it wasn't long before most of the convoy was well out of site in front of us. No worries. We did stop at a rest stop for a potty break for the kids and dogs. Who should we pull in next to but a Cardinal fifth wheel with Alberta plates. I saw a woman walking a small dog in the grass in front of the rv and asked her if that was her rig. She said it was. I said, "We were behind you in the mountains." Intending to thank her for the lead. She raised her hand and said, "I NEVER want to do that again. It was horrible." I laughed and thanked her for being in front. She stated she was quite terrified the whole time and just glad to be through it. Good times.

A quick note about Oregon. Upon crossing the border from Idaho we noticed that we were low on fuel. ($4.25 or so a gallon by now.)We decided to stop and fill up as well as re-caffeinate. I pulled up to the fueling island when a gentleman approached the car quickly. Being from Houston, this sets off certain alarms. It turns out, Oregon is a full service state. Each gas station employs an attendant who will fill your car for you.

So, when this gentleman approaches your car and asks, "What can I do for you?" It would be inappropriate to say, "Get the f*&$ away from my car." If this does slip out you should apologize.

I didn't say it. I thought it, but didn't say it because at about that time Sarah's voice came over the walkie talkie we use and told me it was OK, Oregon is a full service state.

After our Oregon mountain adventure Sarah and I decided we would just press on the extra time and make our destination of Fairview OR a day early. We were ready to get off the road. The further down the gorge we went, the prettier it seemed. It was kind of neat knowing that across the river was a different state too. It occurred to me that when we got to Fairview and parked I would be working in Washington state but the RV might not ever make it over. Then we wouldn't get a sticker for Washington.

Another quick digression. We bought a map outline and placed it on the side of the RV. It comes with stickers you can use to fill in the outline. We created some rules for when you can get a sticker. The RV must be in the state, we can't just go and stay the night in a hotel. The entire family must be there, I can't get the sticker if I go on ahead. It must be an overnight stay, no drive through. So if we parked in Oregon and stayed there we would never get a sticker even though I had been working in Washington the whole time. As we drove I noticed a bridge over to the other side and there happened to be an RV park right next to it. After a quick check with Sarah over the walkie talkie we decided to stop in Washington for the night. Turns out it was Maryhill WA. After parking and getting set up we noticed a stone structure atop a nearby hill. We decided to go up and investigate. Turns out it is a recreation of Stonehenge set up as a World War I memorial for the veterans from Clickitat County who died in that conflict. http://www.legendsofamerica.com/wa-stonehenge.html More pictures of the kids, more pictures of the gnome and back to the RV for dinner and sleep.

Next morning we affix the Washington sticker and move out for the short final section of the drive. As we progressed the drive became more and more beautiful. The sides of the gorge grew more jagged and covered with moss. The occasional low clouds would float in and obscure the tops of the cliffs. I remarked to Sarah that it felt like we were driving through the Lord of the Rings set. Waterfalls dropped hundreds of feet down the cliff faces. Spectacular. This was the most dangerous part of the drive. It is very hard to keep your eyes fixed on the road when you driving through areas like this. That trucker driving the explosive radioactive venomous snake truck should find an alternate route. Coming through I-84 from East to West there are two scenic gorge areas. Both are beautiful. The more Western of the two is just stunning. It includes Multnomah falls which can be seen from the road. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multnomah_Falls We vowed at this time to return this way for exploration.

When we left the dangerous scenic area it was a short drive in to Fairview. We were able to locate our pre-selected RV park easily enough. This is the largest RV park in the Pacific Northwest. It is impeccably manicured, very pretty and entirely not what we wanted for three months. First, the space for us was too small. The only way we could fit the RV, the car and the truck into the assigned area was in such a way that we had to move the truck to get the car out. Second, there were lots of neighbors really close who were friendly and sociable. I don't like that. I like my neighbors at a distance and superficially friendly. There was also a large population of retired permanent residents. In previous experience these people are very particular about every minor rules violation. I like somewhere with a more relaxed atmosphere. We had three days to find another park. Over those three days we searched and found a park in Washington that was more rural, quieter (the original park had a railroad track literally 10 feet outside it's border fence all along the North border of the park.), prettier (read: more natural) with soaring 100 foot+ pine trees. A perfect fit except for one thing. They don't have any laundry room. The nearest laundromat was a 10 minute drive away. Other problem was we didn't find that out until AFTER we paid for our first month. Oh well, we can do anything for one month. We are at that park right now and I have started work. We have already gone up to take a closer look at Mount St. Helens. I have arranged my schedule so that I can attend a class next weekend by on Rory Miller. I have been looking forward to that for a long time. It should be an interesting stay.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Upon crossing the border from Idaho into Oregon we noticed that we were low on fuel. We decided to stop and fill up as well as re-caffeinate. I pulled up to the fueling island when a gentleman approached the car quickly. It turns out, Oregon is a full service state. Each gas station employs an attendant who will fill your car for you.

So, when this gentleman approaches your car and asks, "What can I do for you?" It would be inappropriate to say, "Get the f*&$ away from my car." If this does slip out you should apologize.

I didn't say it. I thought it, but didn't say it because at about that time Sarah's voice came over the walkie talkie we use and told me it was OK, Oregon is a full service state.

Another friendly reminder from the Adventure Nickel. The more you know...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Columbia River gorge

Sarah suggested a word that I had been thinking about the scenery driving up the gorge. Majestic. I also thought jaw-dropping, amazing, fantastic, awe-inspiring, I even thought gob smacking. The problem is you can't convey in words how incredibly beautiful this area is. Driving along a 600 foot mossy cliff face with a waterfall cascading down the side through the misty low lying cloud partially obscuring the top. It is like driving down a movie set for Lord of the Rings or King Kong.

This is the type of landscape that speaks to a deeper part of you. I plan on revisiting and exploring it more in depth over the coming months. There is just so much to see and do here. IT is very exciting. Mt. St. Helens, Rainier, Hood. Multnomah falls, the Pacific Ocean. I am hoping to attend a class and book signing by Rory Miller. Somewhere in there I also have to work. Quite a bit too after the fuel bill to get up here.

Still, this is a bucket list type experience I think. Worth it.

Almost there.

There must be rules. And when you make the rules it is usually a good idea to follow. them. We bought a map outline and placed it on the side of the RV. It comes with stickers you can use to fill in the outline. There are rules for when you can get a sticker. The RV must be in the state, we can't just go and stay the night in a hotel. The entire family must be there, I can't get the sticker if I go on ahead. It must be an overnight stay, no drive through. We were driving along the Columbia River Gorge (amazing BTW) on the Oregon side and decided to press on instead of stopping in Stanfield OR as originally planned. The whole time driving we could look over the river and see Washington. Just after the John Day dam we saw a bridge with an RV park beside it. So we crossed the bridge into Washington and stopped. Since I will be working in Washington and we will be exploring the state pretty extensively I figured we had to get the sticker. We also got to go visit a Stonehenge replica while we were at it. Today, on to our final destination.

Monday, April 4, 2011


We planned on going to Craters of the Moon and we did. On the way we saw a sign for Shoshone Falls and thought if might sound interesting. Maybe we will stop on our way back through. Kept going, got to Craters and found it mostly closed. Still had fun playing in the snow. Debated for a while about going home a different route. Decided to go back the way we came. Might be quicker.

Got to the turn where we could either go home or go see the falls. The dog had been in the trailer alone for 8 hours. Decided to go ahead and drive through. Waterfalls are usually cool. Then we get to this bridge, Perrine Bridge spanning an incredible canyon. Got out and explored for a bit then headed out to the falls. It was awesome. How many times did we have the opportunity to make a decision that would have kept us from seeing this place? Yet we found it. These happy little accidents are when we usually find the coolest places. Twin Falls Idaho gets a big thumbs up. I hope we can return here again and take more time to explore.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Out of Utah

Got some snow tonight. Was a first for Sarah and the kids. First time they ever woke up to see everything covered in a blanket of snow. I think Sarah was as excited as the kids though it was hard to tell when Michael woke up at 0630 and wiped the condensation off the window.

Pretty exciting stuff. Snow angels, snowball fights and even a couple of modest snowmen. Everyone had a good time and Daddy got to figure out how to get ice, snow and slush off of the RV enough to pack it up and go. Had to get on the roof to sweep the snow and slush off the slide topper awnings so they would slide in. Slippery but no incidents.

Driving through Utah is amazing. Every time I have ever driven through Utah I have been stunned at how beautiful it is. Thing is, I never heard anyone talk about the scenery in Utah. It was always Colorado, Northern California and even Arizona or New Mexico. Hard to beat Northern Utah. Oh yeah, turns out I am not a big fan of Southern Wyoming. Too windy. Leads to RV repairs.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Long journey halfway through.

Man, this can be tiring. And trying.
driving out of North Platte we started encountering high winds. Turns out it was 40 mph with gusts exceeding 55mph. There were flashing signs at the side of the road advising no light trailers. Makes you question if 12k lbs can be considered light. I think it is. We slowed to 45-50 and kept plugging. Finally made it in to Laramie after stopping at a truck park for an hour or so waiting out what we hoped was the worst of the wind.

The KOA in Laramie offered no protection from the wind. We slept in the kids room with all the slides in because our slide topper awnings were acting as sails and tipping the RV as well as the wear and tear on the toppers. Next day was better. still windy but not ARRRRRRGGGHHHH windy. We explored Laramie and went to the University of Wyoming campus to see some dinosaur fossils then hit the planetarium later Max couldn't sit through the show so I waited outside with him until it was finished. That night Michael and I went out and found some of the constellations they displayed in the planetarium. Kind of neat. More later as time permits. This travel thing is busy.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Back on the road

So we are back to traveling again. Feels good. There is a rhythm to traveling like this that we are still trying to find. Took longer than we hoped to get on the road this morning. Longer than we hoped but about as long as we expected. It is coming back slowly but surely. Crazy, after everything that has happened, that we can still do this. That we can still live like this.

It was again hard to leave family and hard to leave my new friends from work. Harder still because I was there longer and they were all so nice to me. Harder because there for a while we were pretty convinced this whole traveling circus lifestyle was over.

So, we are back on the road. Trying to figure out how to do this again. The window stays the same but the view changes.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Next destination

Got the next contract signed and ready. Headed to Vancouver Washington for 13 weeks. Maybe I'll start updating the blog regularly again. The trip to Houston hasn't particularly been anything I wanted to tell the world about.

Vancouver looks nice. Can't wait to get on the road. The trip alone will be more adventure and excitement (the good kind we hope) than we had in all of our stay here in Houston. I enjoyed working with the fine people of Houston Northwest Medical Center and will miss them. But...it is time to go.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A lesson in customer service.

There was a change in plans.

Instead of whisking away to the American Southwest for our next stop we stayed in Houston to deal with some oncological OB/GYN problems. This has been yet another trip through the healthcare system from the patient's perspective. This is almost always highly educational. This time is no exception.

We sat with contract in hand preparing to sign when the phone rang. It was Sarah's OB saying some blood tests had come back elevated and that cyst looked different and he thought it should just come out. So, we scheduled the surgery for two days later. YAY expediency! Still, probably not wise to commit to a contract a few states away until we had more info. Surgery day, the doctor comes out of surgery and informs me that he found some things he didn't like and it was either endometriosis (prognosis - irritating but not a big deal.) or carcinomatosis (prognosis - 18 - 24 months to live with multiple invasive and quality of life reducing surgeries to get you that far) He would know for sure by next week. Oh yeah, did I mention that this was on the LAST DAY of my contract here? Yeah, no stress. Luckily, my contacted hospital was willing to renew my contract for 10 more weeks while we sorted this out. This was a long ugly weekend. Customer service in healthcare lesson #1 "Don't tell someone they might have a horrible fatal disease unless you KNOW they do." Now, I see where this one can't be a hard and fast rule. I think he really believed that it was carcinomatosis. He wanted to prepare us for the worst.

Then we found out about a specialty in medicine. There are such things as Oncology OB/GYN surgeons. Turns out there are doctors who do nothing but deal with cancers of female reproductive organs. Now we had to deal with this guy.

Turns out our lesson from the regular OB doctor was but a minor quibble. That, is for the next post.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Next contract

Here we are. Next contract is in Yuma Arizona. I love my Houston people and there are some things here I am really going to miss while we are gone. That being said, I can't wait to hit the road. We stay way too busy and spend way too much money here. There is constantly someone to visit, somewhere to go, doctor visits, dentist, vet, family, Kaju classes. No time for much else. Including this blog.

Perhaps there will be a little more discretionary time on the next contract.

On the side of the RV we placed a large map sticker that is the outline of the USA. It includes individual state stickers. We will be getting three new stickers this trip. New Mexico, Arizona and California. There are rules about sticker placement, as there must be in this sort of thing. The RV must stay the night in the state with all of us in it or no sticker. I wonder how full we can get that map.

Good to be back to adventure.