Oct 11

Hollie Reunion: That Friday In A Nutshell.

To continue the reunion: Got up late (for me) Friday morning. Didn’t sleep very well Thursday night: Danged air conditioner kept turning on and off. Not used to any noise when I’m sleeping.

Aunt Betty fixed a nice breakfast and then it was off to visit with whoever else had showed up. I’ve never been hugged so much in my life! (Which was cool!) I re-met a bunch of people that I hadn’t seen in 50+ years and several of them mentioned they used to change my diapers when I was a baby. Too many names to remember…

About noon we had a BBQ at Cousin Claude’s cabin (Hi Marilyn!) and I ate way too many burgers. Lots of remembering going on among the family. It was nice.

That evening there was a gather at one of the other cabins; mostly the “older” folks sitting around gabbing and some picking and singing going on. Bobby (Hollie?) had a device that allowed him to accompany himself (He sounded better without it), Uncle Herman and Cousin James played and sang a bit and it was a lot of fun.

But I got tired of the noise (these folks are some of the loudest people I’ve ever met! Which I should have expected remembering Mom’s loudness.) and walked on down to the “younger” folks cabin (Cousin Claude’s). The “younger” crowd was around my age!

I don’t know what I was thinking! There was Marilyn (I sure hope I spelt her name right), Cousin’s Claude & Billie and a friend of Claude’s named Walt (who talks like Ozzie Osborn). With the five of us in the room there was four (4) different conversations going on each at the top of the respective person’s voice! It was LOUD!

But it was damned fun too! Each of them are as red-necked as I am! And it was really great to re-acquaint myself with Claude and Billie and get to know Marilyn & Walt. I really enjoyed hanging around with them. Stayed up way too late!

Still felt like a welcomed stranger at times though. Which I guess I’ll be until I’ve attended 20 or 30 reunions and gotten to know everybody.

Saturday, the actual reunion, in the next post.

Not much going on around here. “Babysat” a couple of the grandkids yesterday and that was a lot of fun. When it wasn’t being not-fun. Rainy weather has really kicked in here and it’s been raining (sometimes hard) off and on for the past couple of days. Not doing too much on the radio; mostly listening in on 12 & 15 meters. Doing my regular housework and cooking and such. Pretty SSDD if  you ask me!

Oct 08

Ok. I’m Back From The Family Reunion. Mostly Rested…

The Hollie Family Reunion was pretty cool!

Got up early and got ready for the Kitsap Airporter ride to Seatac. Arrived at the 76 Station in Gorst at 0715; in plenty of time. Airporter didn’t show up. Pulled out my ticket for their number, gave a call, and found out I was scheduled for the 7:55 PM shuttle. Damn! How in the HELL did that happen? Luckily SWMBO was still up and willing to drive me to Seatac Airport! (What a schweetie!!!)

Got to the Airport and it took me only about 10 minutes to get through the TSA Security check. Had plenty of time to sit around waiting for my 1155 flight. Walked around some. Bought a couple of cokes for the flight.

Plane boarded and took off late, but arrived 15 minutes early. Flight was okay. Tried watching an episode of SG1 on my Superpad but it was way too noisy. Wound up spending $15 for a crappy lunch cause I was really hungry. Really enjoy flying though. Took a couple of pictures that I eventually got to send SWMBO and she now uses one of them for her desktop. Cool.

Arrived in Memphis early. Sat around smelling some of the best smelling BBQ I’ve smelt in awhile until we got to board the plane for Greenville. It was a much smaller jet than I flew to Memphis on. The take-off and landing almost reminded me of flying backseat in the Navy! Take-off G’s and landing G’s were so cool!

Uncle Herman (whom I hadn’t actually seen in 50+ years) picked me up at the Greenville airport. Took me to a casino on Lake Ferguson (I think) to pick up Aunt Betty (whom I’d never actually met) and we went from there to the Leroy Percy State Park down near Hollandale. The Greenville we drove through (after dark) didn’t look anything like the Greenville I remember as a kid; but it has been 40+ years since I was last there.

From there on it’s kind of a blur. I think I remember going to one of the cabins for a pre-reunion let’s-see-who’s-already-here gather; but I won’t swear to it as I was pretty tired. I do remember Uncle Herman and I sitting up late talking. Sure was great to see him.

Re-met my Cousin’s Kathy, Claude & Billie. We all used to hang together a lot when we were 7-9 years old and we all lived in the same area (Las Vegas mostly). Of course, we’ve all grown much taller, and older, but I still recognized each of them. Really really great getting back together with them.

And that’s it for now. I’ve caught a cold in the past couple of days and just don’t feel like doing anything. Too much concentration required right now! I’ll cover Friday and Saturday in the next post.

Jul 01

My Birthday Trip! 700+ Miles in 36 hours…

SWMBO knows that I really don’t like the weather here in the western part of the “great” Northwest. We were talking the other day and boiled part of it down to me feeling “hemmed in” by all these trees. Don’t get me wrong, I like trees, but I grew up mostly in Southern California (LA), Greenville, Mississippi and points in-between. Places with large open skies and much better weather (to me) than we get up here. Las Vegas, Nv. Yuma, Az. Places like that.

So, every so often she takes me to the desert. For the past couple of years that’s been down Sisters, Oregon way. We go down a day early, get a good nights sleep; then I drop her off at the quilt show Saturday morning and I head out into the desert. Last year we went down 2 days early and both of us spent the day running around the desert. That’s when we saw the John Day Fossil Beds (most all of them) and got to see Saturn through the telescope up at the Pine Mountain Observatory.

Anywho, you probably get it that I like deserts and open skies.

So, SWMBO decided to take me on a trip for my 59th Birthday. Anywhere I wanted to go that we could drive to. Cool! Been wanting to see the Channeled Scablands in Eastern Washington.

We got up early Monday morning, my birthday, and got out of the house by 0930. Traffic was still a bit heavy but really not too bad. Hwy 16 to I-5 to Hwy 18 East to I-90 East. Pretty drive. Stopped at a rest stop and looked at the Windmill Farm across the highway. Snoqualmie Pass. Dropping down to Ellensburg and High Desert country. Beautiful! We stopped at the Wild Horse Monument off I-90 for awhile and I got some great pictures of SWMBO and the I-90 bridge. And the monument, of course.

Long story short: We drove to the Dry Falls National Park. Magnificant! Really hard to imagine the amount of water that was making all those cliffs you see as you drive the highway. And the noise that must have been generated! Definitely deafening.

Then we drove to the Coulee Dam. Nice!

Back down Hwy-17 to the Lenore Caves. Climbed the fairly easy path up the cliffs to the caves that Indians used to live in “way back when.” SWMBO did a great job getting around.

Getting to be late afternoon so we drove down Hwy 17 to Moses Lake and stayed at the Ameristay Inn. Spendy but nice room. I managed to make a contact on my Wouxun 144/444 handheld. Had a late dinner in the restaurant of the bowling alley/Casino next door.

Got up early the next morning and, after breakfast, headed out for the Palouse Falls. Got a bit disoriented and took the long way but saw a LOT of flat ground on the way. The Falls are Great! Excellent! You’re driving along and come to a big hole in the ground in which you find the Falls and a canyon leading outwards (South?). Wow!

Left there and found our way to Lower Crab Creek Road. About 50 miles of dirt/gravel road (with a 1 mile paved section through a small community) and drove along the edges of the mountains/hills. Lovely! Dusty but really nice. Almost hit a van hauling balls towards us from around a bend; but we both made it.

Got to the end of Lower Crab Creen Road, made a right heading up to I-90. Made a stop at the Waupana Overlook then headed on home. I figured I’d tired SWMBO out enough and subjected her to the heat enough and it was time to head back. Weather really cooled off when we started heading back up Snoqualmie Pass. Cloudy. You could see the rain in the distance. Some places with snow still on the mountain tops. Weather SWMBO likes.

Made it back home by 2130. Tired, Tanned and still enjoying the brief spate of warm weather, mountainous to flat land and large open skies. But, even with the absolutely magnificant sites we saw, the best part was spending a couple of days being with SWMBO. Seeing things together and just talking about whatever in-between. I still think it was neat that she climbed up to the Lake Lenore Caves.

All the pictures we took are in my gallery and some video on my YouTube site. If yer interested.

Jul 12

Trip To Sisters, Oregon For Quilt Show

A Lot has been happening around here lately! Been busy. Been (physically) Sore from swinging that damned hammer around. And we made a trip.
Okay, first: Spent about a week putting in the new flooring from SWMBO’s room through the hall, the living room and entrance area (front door). Looks great and we really didn’t make that many mistakes. Had to put together a table for my table saw so I could rip the flooring length-wise but it worked great. Still have to put the molding back on but putting in the flooring is done.
Got up and just farted around last Friday until SWMBO was ready to take off for the quilt show in Sisters, Oregon. We were going to leave at 1500; but a friend of mine called me up and said he was ready to move my Digger from the old property to the new property but we had to do it Right Now. So we did. Nice having my Digger here where I can keep an eye on her…
So, got that done by 1200 and we decided to take off a couple of hours early. Stopped for gas at the Safeway market in Belfair and almost 1000 miles later we pulled back in at 2230 or so last night. What a trip! And I’m glad we decided to take off early!
We headed over to I-5 then south and it was a pretty good ride except for rush hour traffic in Portland. Man, traffic was backed up across several long bridges and it just crawled. I don’t see how those people do that every day!
We finally got out of all that and an hour later we were passing through Salem, Oregon. Shortly we got to Albany and made a left. That’s when the ride really started getting pretty! Decided to stop for gas in Lebannon and forgot that I was in Oregon and wasn’t allowed to pump my own gas. Damn! I don’t know why that have that rule; unless it’s to create jobs. But it’s a stupid damned rule anyway.
Anywho, we started uphill out of Lebannon (Hwy 20) and I just can’t describe how pretty it is going over those mountains and through the woods. Wide vistas of canyons with a river at the bottom. Mountains slowly disappearing in the distance. Tall trees and some wind. It was great. Just beautiful.

We got to Sisters about 2100 and still had 20 miles to Redmond, Oregon and the Motel 6. SWMBO was really looking forward to climbing into their hot tub. Unfortunately we checked in too late and it was closed for the night. So we went for a walk to stretch our legs (my Butt hurt from all that sitting in the truck!) and racked out for the night.
Got SWMBO up at 0700 Saturday morning and got her ready to go. Drove over to Sisters and dropped her off (traffic was alreay terrible) and I went out exploring on my own. Drove over to Bend, Oregon and found a Les Schwab to check over a tire I wasn’t feeling right about. (They wound up just rotating my tires and it seems okay.)
I fell in love! With the area and the High Desert. I took off heading east from Bend and just drove. Stopped a couple of times to video some sites where you could see desert forever. Went down about 14 miles of dirt road to the (Davis?) Observatory and that was a cool ride! Heading up the mountain. Tall trees and forest that looked like it was maintained or something. Didn’t have all the undergrowth we have here.

The Observatory wasn’t real impressive, if you’re used to one like Palomar. Just three (3) small domes. Couldn’t go inside as the tours didn’t start until after 2000 hours but I still enjoyed being up there. Great view from the very top of the mountain. But I’d be willing to bet they still get some good views of the stars when it isn’t cloudy. Took some great video of me driving back down the mountain.
Went back to Bend, Oregon and drove up this mountain they have in the middle of town that they’ve put a road around and around it going to the top. Nice views from up there also.
Nice having a cell phone like the Blackberry. Every so often I’d MMS/SMS a message to SWMBO with a picture of what I was looking at and she’d do the same for me. Too cool! We’re beginning to wonder why we waited so long to move into the 20th century as far as cell phones go.
So, it was starting to get late in the afternoon and I knew SWMBO would be calling me soon to pick her up so I just headed over to Sisters anyway. Anyplace else I’d have wanted to go would have taken too long to do that then go pick her up. Man, the traffic was still at a crawl starting about 2 miles out from town. But I got through it okay and found a place to park about 1/2 a mile from the quilt show. Easy walk in.
Tried finding SWMBO but there was just too many people. Finally, she called me and it turned out we were only 1/2 block from each other. We finally hooked up and had lunch at a BBQ place. Man, they made a mean BBQ Turkey sandwich! But it wasn’t worth the $8 we paid for them. Finished up lunch and walked around the Quilt show for about another hour. SWMBO was tired and hot (it was about 90 degrees) so we decided to just head on home. That last walk back to where I’d parked the truck probably took it all out of her.
Drove back through Redmond, Oregon and stopped by McDonalds (Man, we ate at McDonalds a lot!) and took off on Hwy 97 north. I figured we’d go north to the Columbia River and hand a left for Portland. And I figured that I’d be able to get gas at one of the small towns on the way.
Well, we came to one small town and the Texaco station there was a “replica”; meaning no gas. Next town was 30 miles from there and the only gas station was closed (and the pumps out front where the old kind and rusted out). By the time we hit the next town my gas gauge was below empty (the gas low light had been on for 15 miles). I was really sweating running out of gas way out in the middle of nowhere! But we made it to a station and filled up (@ $2.99/gal!!!) and took off heading North again.
But wouldn’t you know I’d mess up. I stayed on Hwy 97 and completely missed the turn off for Hwy 197 (which I should have taken!) so I added a couple of hours to our trip. Lovely views of vast (the only word that fits) fields of hay and wheat or whatever. Out where folks cannot see their neighbors and the kids have an hour ride on the school bus each way. I mean it was empty out there! Just great! SWMBO spent a lot of time on that part of the ride texting our son who was at our house doing his laundry and watching Poop Dog.
Riding along the Columbia River was pretty, as usual. They sure cut a lot of rock to make that highway!
Anywho, to make a long story short, we finally got home about 2300 last night. Tired. Butt Sore. Took a quick rinser and crashed for the night.
Got woken up at 0650 this morning by a tremendous clap of thunder. Brought me right up and out of bed. I’d swear I felt the pressure wave of the wall vibrating to the thunder. Cool. Thunder’s been going off and on the past several hours. Trying again to get it on video and will post the best on my You Tube site. Kind of strange (well, not strange) to be in 90 degree weather yesterday and back to cool, cloudy today even if we are having a pretty good thunder storm (for our area)
More later!