Saturday pulled out of driveway about 4pm headed to Leach's because trailer brake lights weren't coming on. They changed the plug, tested and showed everything working in trailer and in RAV but somehow electrical wasn't connected. Went to Cichinsekis(sic) 'cause they dealt with electrical when we first got the trailer. Learned wiring was fried, apparently due to erroneous plug connections. 24 hours later (Sunday) the wiring is repaired but we're waiting for new trailer tires (I said we needed to check this some time ago) as originals were 'uneven'. So we're at the library computers awhile and later I'll surprise the gang at gaming when I walk in. Monday we will reload the cooler and pillows to head west.
Friday after an all too brief session at the library computer I headed home to pack and load. There was a break for the movie, Kingsmen II, then back to work. At the end of day there's still considerable loading to be done but progress has been made. I told Leofwyna, "We're retired, we're on vacation, sleep. We can get there when we get there since we didn't make reservations this time." Saturday morning I'm back for another brief session on the library computer while Leofwyna sleeps. We'll finish loading, eat, shower and stop at Best Buy for the cellphone before getting on the road but we can drive into the night as long as we're alert. Oh yes, another library stop to download Stirling books on the cellphone for the road. I'd be surprised if we're out of town before 4pm at this rate.
So, after deciding on Monday we'd go to Gulf Wars we were packed up and leaving Thursday for the drive down to the far side of Mississippi. We'd had plans to attend Gulf Wars in the next year or two but with Master Gerald taking the Great Machine down this year we came to the decision this should be the year to go. For the most part we had good weather... meaning moderate temperatures. There was some rain the first couple days of the war but no storms which was good. And since we were so close to New Orleans we added a couple days there as well. It was a great trip and the timing was good, leaving Louisiana the day before some big storms hit. Our drive through Oklahoma and Kansas included driving through driving rain but at least we were away from the worst storms.

At the Gulf Wars I spent most of my time at the Great Machine while Leofowyna took some classes. I spent Friday and Saturday in the ELT area with Marcella and Ed when the GM was being taken down for the trip back home. In New Orleans we took a swamp tour, explored the Old Market, and drove around through wonderful old neighborhoods.
Another week gone but this time it was more interesting. We loaded up the camper and headed up to Michigan. The weather was fine for most of the trip so spending nights in the camper in Walmart parking lots worked out just fine. In Frankenmuth our room at the inn was very comfortable. The purpose of the trip was so I could finally get a 'refresher' workshop with Paula Nadelstern and it was worth the trip. When we got there we discovered I'd recorded the dates wrong and we were a day early. We also discovered one of the other teachers had to back out and Ms Nadelstern agreed to do an additional half day workshop and I signed up for that too. So Saturday afternoon-evening we took a drive up toward the bay which deliniates the mitten of Michigan in an attempt to find water to view. We finally found access to the bay just as the sun went down so Leofwyna's photos mainly consists of sunset colors in a rather dark picture with a silvery strip for the water. Sunday after the 30-60 workshop in the afternoon we both attended the evening program. The two-day workshop I'd signed up for on Monday and Tuesday was totally what I'd wanted and I'm sure I can now delve into the special stash I've accumulated for the purpose. On the way home again the weather turned on us Thursday between DesMoines and Omaha with pouring rain. In Omaha as we thought we'd stop for supper the rain turned to sleet and we decided we should wait to get ourselves home and got back on the road without our supper. Good thing we did because it got progressily worse until just past the Platte River crossing we were slowed to a creep by wet snow falling heavily. Some drivers who failed to slow down ended up in the ditch; we passed at least two accident sites with police in attendance. We got home safely and decided to leave the unloading until the slop clears off.
Monday, up at ten and packing, loading, setting up cat and home for caregiver, deliver key and on the road about 2pm.  Took turns driving, I successfully pulled off a nap around three.  Leofwyna was not so successful when it was her turn.  While I was driving realized I'd forgotten my sunglasses.  Some frippering transpired.  The last couple hours we watched lightning in dark clouds as we drove toward them and finally before turning west we drove in under them and got pelted with a driving rain.  Once we'd turned west we drove out from under and pulled into Loveland about ten,  We keep saying we'll do better with our arrival time the next time but this wasn't it.  A nice visit with Agnes before crashing into bed... mountain time midnight.

It was a lovely thing that Leofwyna had obtained a plug-in site for the camper.  It was a hot-hot-hot week in Danville, Indiana and we were able to rest well.  There were some great amenities in the form of a/c'd shower trailers and a/c'd flushy trailers between our site and the Great Machine making things very convenient for us.  We were pleased to attend the founders' get together the first Saturday and had the good fortune of an informal meeting in the hall with several others and visiting with Diana Listmaker herself for nearly 20 minutes.  Leofwyna had three really good drumming evenings which put her in great spirits throughout.  I spent most of my days at the Great Machine helping as I was able, mostly allowing Master Gerald the opportunity on his 'off-days' to know he could get away awhile.  The reception for the Great Machine by folks was consistantly a fission of excitment and awe which was a wonderful boost for his lordship. Wednesday night's bloom compression was especially impressive.  (Back at home we found numerous photos and videos of the Great Machine available in Facebook.)

When 50th was done Leofwyna and I headed north to camp in the woods near the south edge of Lake Michigan.  Leofwyna got to put another stamp in her passport for the Indiana Dunes National Park.  We daytripped to Chicago, Shipshiwanna, and up into Michigan more than once.  Of course we visited many thrift stores everywhere we went and we looked diligently for Habitate ReStores where we did find some of the tiles we need for the laundry room floor.  We developed a special fondness for New Buffalo, Michigan, where we found wonderful ice cream at Oinks and attended the fireworks on the beach on the Fourth of July.  Although we sprayed ourselves with mosquito spray repeatedly through the days we came home with extensive bug bites all up and down our legs, very itchy for days.  One suggestion after the fact was chiggers but that doesn't seem right to me.

NOTE:  Most likely the 'chiggers' were oak mites.  The itching eased off after a week or so and the spots finally disappeared a few weeks later.

Saturday we were up early to go into Denver to go to the Science and Natural History museum.  We went to three of the IMAX shows including Age of Space, Cousteau's Ocean and Humpback Whales.  In between shows we went through the Gems and Mineral display, Colorado Wildlife dioramas, Australia and the Pacific Wildlife dioramas, and several others.  We were thoroughly worn out but stopped for supper at Pete's Greektown Cafe; what wonderful food they have there.  We made a note to go again when we're in the area.  Sunday we went to laPeep for brunch; Leofwyna was delighted to find they hadn't changed.  Then we drove out to an animal sanctuary but were too late to get in.  We were able to see a camel, several dozen vicunas and a couple prides of lions from the road.  Back at home in the evening we started another jigsaw puzzle while running some laundry through but agreed to toss the puzzle as it was poorly registered.  Monday we were up and out to go back to Estes and Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park.  We saw one elk this time, several magpies and 3-4 small deer herds (only a couple bucks).  Back at the house Leofwyna's trying to get her weaving project big enough to call done.  She's having some problems with warp threads breaking but is pushing ahead in spite of it.  Tuesday is the last day of being tourists and we headed to Wyoming... Cheyenne and then Laramie by way of ___ Nat'l Forest.  We saw several very large groups of antelope while we were on the road.  In town we found a few thrift stores and I found an unopened set of pink/taupe polka dot sheets, a couple cotton cutters and a puzzle.  We also found another quilt shop for me to be tempted in and I got a replacement ruler in addition to a dozen cuts of cotton prints.  When the sun went down we hurried to beat the storm back to Loveland... there were snow flurries in the wind for 20 miles on I-80 but was clear the rest of the way.  Wednesday we were surprised the promised storm had petered out.  The snow on the ground pretty much disappeared throughout a sunny day.  We stayed at the house and started some of the packing and cleaning up.  I made baked porkchops and sweet potatoes for our supper; a yummy dish I want to remember to repeat with chicken this winter, too.  Thursday some more cleaning and loading the RAV as Agnes and Carl will pull in late this afternoon.  One more night here then we'll be on the road all day Friday heading home.  Here's hoping the weather holds one more day as we cross the plains down I-25 and I-80.

I should perhaps remind myself here and share with friends how this trip has come about.  Our friend has taken a trip to Australia and asked if we would house and cat sit while she was gone.  She is paying for the gas to and from home and we have the run of the house while we're here so there's no 'travel' expense.  Leofwyna is underwriting the gas we're using as we play tourist and she's buying the tickets for the attractions we've gone to.  I'm extremely grateful she's able and willing to do that for me.  The only money I've spent is on groceries, which I'd be doing back home anyway, and on my finds in the thrift stores. 
Friday we were up early, loaded and finally got on the road shortly after noon.  We pulled into Loveland around 8:30 their time so that was good.  We got settled in, met the cats and had a little time to visit.   Saturday Carl and Agnes were off to Australia and we started a jigsaw puzzle over the noon hour before going out to explore Loveland a little bit.  We found a beautiful art park and walked along several paths looking at beautiful bronze statuary (from alligator to giraffe to gorilla to rabbit and wolfpack and much more).  It'll take another couple times to see it all.  Sunday afternoon we drove up to Estes and to Rocky Mountain National Park.  We were able to go in as far as Many Parks Pass before turning back.  We saw many deer (3-4 10-point bucks), many elk (including maybe a dozen big bulls), ground squirrels and a stream FULL of rainbow trout.  We stopped at a lovely restaurant in Estes so Leofwyna could have trout for supper; I chose salmon.  Monday we stayed in.  We spent time on a jigsaw puzzle.  Leofwyna started weaving a runner.  I made Garden scalloped potatoes and ham for supper.  Tuesday we went to Boulder by way of Estes (taking the scenic route).  We found a couple wool/weaving shops where I bought a couple skeins of wool for a cowl and a pair of socks.  Leofwyna wanted wool to add to her project on Anges' loom.  We also found a couple thrift stores and I got my hair cut.  We stopped on the way home at Katmandu for east indian food which was yummy.  Wednesday Leofwyna decided she wanted to get some tasks finished so we stayed in.  There was a jigsaw puzzle, letter writing and unpacking accomplished.   We cleared leaves from the fish pond and I took the stationary bike for a spin.  Thursday we drove up to Fort Morgan for the afternoon; on the way we drove by a HUGE prairie dog town.  We ate lunch at Chocolate Cafe; a nice selection of a dozen entrees and over twenty dessert selections... only a couple of the desserts without chocolate.  Then we drove up into the Poudre River canyon where we did indeed find a herd of Bighorn sheep!  Back in Fort Morgan we found a thrift store where I found a perfect pair of turquoise ankle boots, four skeins of wool sock yarn and a nice piece of fushia t-shirt material.  At home I sauted the Garden parsnips to go with leftover crown tourney feast chicken.  It's been a great week for us both.

Another ten days gone.  Tuesday and Wednesday a little garage reorganizing was attempted.  At the sewing table I tried to use up the 1.25 strips but there's still quite a ways to go with those.  Thursday I mowed the lawn and packed for the trip.  We took Maggie in because of her issues.  Friday we loaded up and drove up to Huron, SD.  Saturday morning was Sash's "Celebration of Life" at Wolsey with family and community friends.  About a dozen Scadians were there including four of the five apprenti and we were invited to join the immediate family at the cemetary for the burial of the ashes.  While there I got stung by a bee on the left shoulder.  We were also shown where Sash's red oak tree will be planted at the homeplace.  Saturday afternoon Leofwyna and I headed west and spent the next four days exploring the Badlands and the Black Hills with a highlight being the evening lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore.  Animals we saw while we were gone were bighorn sheep, antelope, prairie dogs, mule-ear deer red squirrel and thirteen-stripe ground squirrel.  Thursday was all day driving the long way home.

June 1-2

Jun. 9th, 2015 12:04 pm
Monday we were up at 9 am and on the road at noon (after showers at Flying J).  We drove through rain storms throughout the day so we stopped again at Walmart, this time in North Platte.  Day list: antelope, barn swallow, prairie dogs, hawk, deer, red-wing blackbird, geese and a bat.

Tuesday we were up at 9 am and on the road a 10:00 am.   I nearly ran us out of gas again at Pleasant Dale but fortunately was able to pull on into a station in Emerald.  The RAVs empty is considerably below the E and I lucked out.  We pulled into Lincoln at 4 pm and stopped for ice cream before continuing home... arriving at 5 pm.   Daylist: mourning dove, sparrow, hawk, deer, robin, flicker, pelicans and turkey.   4,170.8 miles  We both agree, it was a very good trip.

Ian from next door had just begun mowing as we pulled in and was done before we finished unloading.

May 30-31

Jun. 9th, 2015 11:50 am
Saturday we were up at 9 am and on the road at noon (again the morning disappeared on us).  While I was driving I ran us out of gas; fortunately JUST past an interchange with a Conoco station.  I was able to walk the mile back for gas; two miles if you also count the off ramp and drive back in to the station that I didn't have to walk.  A nice local gentleman and his dog, Bubba, picked me up on the off ramp and drove me on into the station, then back out with the gallon of gas.  That got us back on the road in pretty short order and we drove on through to Bozeman at 9:30 pm where we found another Walmart for the night.  Day list:  red-winged blackbird, Bald eagle, antelope, crow, magpie, barn swallow, Teal and other ducks.

Sunday we were up at 9 am and on the road at 11:30am.  We're beginning to be eager to get home; so much so I didn't even record where we stopped for the night in Wyoming (probably Casper Walmart).  Day list robin, crow, sparrow, magpie, prairie dogs, meadowlark, antelope, ducks, deer and mourning doves.

May 28-29

Jun. 9th, 2015 11:28 am
Thursday we were up at 8 am and on the road at 8:45 am to catch the Black Ball Ferry back to Port Angeles in Washington State at 10:30 am.  We're headed home.  We don't want to push mileage quite so hard as we did heading west.  Maybe set up camp a little earlier in the evening, have a campfire after supper.  Stopped at Kanaska State Park at 7:15 pm.  Day list: sparrow, Swallowtai butterfly, harbor sea, seagulls, Canadian geese, robin Stellar's jay and crow.

Friday we were up at 9 am and on the road at noon (where did our morning go).  We hit a rain/hail storm in the pass coming through the mountains.  Upon reaching Spokane, MT we were looking for someplace interesting to eat and found the Spokane Falls Skyride in the Riverfront Park.  It rained again during supper so we set up for the night at Walmart in Post Falls about 10 pm.  Day list: raven, robin, red-winged blackbird, ducks, crow and seagulls.

May 27

Jun. 9th, 2015 10:56 am
Wednesday we were up at 9 am and on the road at 11 am leaving Al in camp.  The destination for this excursion was Butchart Gardens where Leofwyna had been in early spring 25 years ago and wanted to come back for a better flowering season.  It did not disappoint... glorious place.  Day list: raven, robin, geese, Swallowtail butterflies, dragonflies and bee-ee-eez-zz-zz-z.

May 26

Jun. 9th, 2015 10:50 am
Tuesday we were up at 9 am and on the road at 10 am.  We reached Port Angeles at 1:30 and decided to deal with laundry before catching the ferry to Vancouver Island at 5:20 pm.  We had reservations for camp at Goldstream Provincial Park, arriving there at 8:30 pm.   Reading in poor light during supper I gave myself a terrible headache.  Leofwyna medicated me and tucked me in for the night by eleven and I was relieved it was thoroughly gone by morning.  Day list: seagulls, heron, robin and barn swallows.

May 25

Jun. 9th, 2015 10:39 am
Monday, Memorial Day, up at 8 am and on the road at  9:30 am.  In all our planning we'd thought Memorial Day was next weekend when we'd be past sightseeing and headed home.  Traffic was heavy in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and being unable to leave Al parked for the day, we were only able to stop at three of the four waterfalls.  A flyer Leofwyna had picked up lead us to Fabric Depot where I went over the top choosing quilt fabrics... many wonderful print lines I've never seen before and many hundreds of bolts!  Again with local restrictions so we bought into Potlatch State Park ($26).  Day list: crows, heron, robin, yellow finch  and  seagulls.

May 24

Jun. 9th, 2015 10:23 am
Sunday we were up at 9 am and on th road at 10 am.  We stopped a Cannon Beach so Leofwyna could fly her kite.   We'd hoped to see Puffins at Haystack Rock but it was too distant.  Since local restrictions prevented using Walmart and we'd had so many 'free' nights, we invested in an RV camp in Aurora, OR... with showers.  Day list: seagulls, crow, cormorants, deer, robins, eagle, barn swallows, Stellar's jay and heron.

May 23

Jun. 9th, 2015 10:09 am
Saturday we were up at 8:30 am and on the road at 9:30 am leaving Al 'in camp'.  Leofwyna announced the day was dedicated to me and my interests.  Our first stop was Driftwood Beach.  She took me to a quilt shop, a bead shop, a Goodwill and South Jetty Beach in Florence.  We finished up at Bob Creek Beach.  All these beaches but no more sea glass was found, only pebbles, bits of shell, even parts of sand dollar.  Day list: crow, grackle, robin, geese, buzzard, cormorant, barn swallow, pelicans and seagulls.

May 22

Jun. 9th, 2015 01:42 am

Friday up at 9:30am  and on the road at 11:30 am.  We had a 'dinner show' at breakfast with chipmunks trying to steal Leofwyna's oatmeal.  If they had succeeded and been caught at it by a ranger it would have caused us to be fined $5,000.  Although we were pushing mileage all day to get to Depot Bay to have dinner at the Sea Hag's Friday buffet (turned out there's no longer any buffet done there).  We did stop to stretch our legs at Crescent City pier/harbor looking for river otter we'd been told might be there (only sealion was found).  We set up for the night at Walmart in Newport, Oregon.  Day list: chipmunks, Stellar's jay, centipede, barn swallow, robin, elk, sealions, cormorants, seals, harbor seal, opposum, deer, crow, Grey whales, gannet and egret.

May 21

Jun. 9th, 2015 01:30 am
Thursday we were up at 8:30 am and on the road at 9:40 am.  We arrived at Redwood National Park at 10:15 am.  We dropped Al on site #20 and went exploring.  Redwood Creek Beach (no glass, no whales, high waves, lots of 'Carl'), Klamath Beachoverook (pretty little cemetary), Requa Road overlook (There be whales here!), and back in camp Rasa and Sebatian played Mexican Train Dominoes with us after supper.  Day list: crow, elk, red-wing blackbird, yellow finch, robin, barn swallows, ground squirrel, seagulls, cormorants, Stellar's jay, sealions, Grey whales, raven, banana slug and crab.

May 20

Jun. 9th, 2015 01:21 am
Wednesday, up at 8 am and on the road by 8:30.  We stopped in Medacino (where Murder She Wrote was taped) for gas and Leofwyna was talking with a gentleman about the camper.  Lots of people were approaching to ask about it throughout the trip.  This man was in a bakery truck and gave us a loaf of French bread.  In the process of exploring this little town we found a jelly store and bought lemon butter and raspberry jam so lunch was bread and jelly sandwiches.  One stop to stretch our legs was at a lovely Redwood grove maintained by a lumber company; good for them!  At suppr in Eureka we were warned off the Walmart there as law enforcement was having problems with homeless people in an adjoining property.  Clam Beach ($13) half an hour up the road was suggested instead and proved quite satisfactory.  Day list: crow, magpie, condor vulture, flicker, Kingfisher, deer, grey squirrel, mourning dove, Stellar's jay, oriol, barn swallows and egret.



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