Capitol Reef NP
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Most of the time when we drive over the snowy pass, we take our toad, the Tracker. It has studded tires and 4 wheel drive and could probably climb a tree if needed. But we wanted space and comfort and it was only a 2 hour drive, so we opted instead to take the Lexus. With something called ECT (a button!) and Overdrive OFF, she did just fine in spite of the dicey conditions on the pass.
Our Oregon State DOT wrote something up in the newspaper last summer about coming up with a name for our pass. I sure hope they do it soon. It is definitely a real pass, with a summit and lots of snow. For now, we just call it Highway 140, and say we are going “over the pass”. Sure would be nice to have a name. I am voting for Sky Lakes Pass since it travels just south of the Sky Lakes Wilderness. Hey, Jeanne, maybe Brown Mountain Pass, or Mt McLoughlin Pass, or Pelican Butte pass? The road doesn’t go over a single one of those big mountains, but ‘passes’ right in between all of them.
It isn’t much distance from home to Medford. We are near milepost 44 and the highway starts in Medford at 0. Probably 25 miles this side of Medford is out of the snow zone, so the pass itself is really only about 15 miles of actually winter pass driving. Medford and Grants Pass are in zone 7 on the agricultural scale, the same as the foothills of California. There is occasional snow, and a cold enough winter that tulips and lilacs will bloom, but most of the time there isn’t anything to shovel and the daytime temperatures are almost always above freezing. Within half an hour of leaving home, we were out of the snow and into the rain and fog that is common this time of year in the Rogue Valley.
Once we arrived at the cottage, we were happy to see the MoHo shed looking shiny and the MoHo all safe and cozy inside. Mo had a big roll up door installed, and they hadn’t put in the chain drive when we were here last. Both of us got a big kick out of how incredibly easy it was to open the big door with that fancy drive. Sure beats trying to push the thing up with a pole. It is Heavy!
Once we knew that the MoHo was all safe and sound and that the little space heater had kept things just toasty in there, we went inside the chilly damp cottage to see how things were faring. Funny how something like the hole in the kitchen ceiling just seems interesting instead of devastating when the cottage isn’t a full time proposition. I sure would hate to have this happen in my real house. Mo found a roofer in the area who seemed reasonably experienced and made an appointment for him to come and give us an estimate for a new or repaired roof.
This guy was interesting, to say the least, and he really likes to talk, especially in circles. Hopefully he knows what he is doing. He said there were at least 4 and maybe 5 layers on that old roof, and that he would take it down to the wood, replace anything that is rotted and start fresh. Mo decided on shingles instead of metal, since there isn’t any snow to slide off in Grants Pass to speak of anyway. He said that he would tarp the roof until he could get to it. Tarp??!! Blue Tarps??!! I have spent the last 40 years laughing at what my friends and I called “North Idaho Roofing Jobs”, blue tarps everywhere. Now I am going to have one? I hope maybe he uses something other than those awful blue tarps.
We spent the rest of our time enjoying the break from plowing and shoveling snow. The leaves from the oaks were wet and thick on the ground, but since we can’t seem to coordinate our visits with a legal burn day, Mo thought it was better to just let the leaves wait where they are instead of making a big wet pile of them somewhere else. I liked that idea a lot, since I am the major leaf raker, and while Mo did puttery house repairs (her favorite hobby), I sat in front of the big south facing window knitting.
We have a nice old fashioned and very good gas stove in the house that had it warmed up and cozy in no time. Dinner was leftover ham from Christmas on the first night but the second night after running some errands we decided it was time for real pizza. Living in Rocky Point most of the time, means it is a minimum 40 minutes on a dry good day from town to home. Hard to get a pizza back from the shop while still hot.
The cottage, however, is just 3 miles from town, and the Legendary Abby’s Pizza. I remember eating Abby’s pizzas when I lived in Medford back in 1969! The store was full but not overcrowded, with lots of happy folks eating pizza and enjoying the big fire in the center of the dining room. Our pizza was great, the half carafe of Burgundy wine was certainly not fancy, but obviously we had a good time.
Dang, that pizza was GOOD! Or was it the wine.
The best part was the ten minute drive back to the cottage! We really like this part about living near town. Grants Pass seems to have some nice stores and restaurants, and even though the population is technically smaller than Klamath Falls, the stores are all bigger, newer, and nicer for some reason. Home Depot is well stocked and probably 1/3 bigger than our shop in Klamath. Is it access to the interstate that makes the difference?
This morning we woke again to a foggy day and deer in the yard. The mama looked familiar, with what is probably last year’s yearling and this year’s fawn. The doe and the yearling get over the fence, but the fawn always seems to end up wandering along outside the fence. I suppose he will eventually get big enough to actually jump with the other two.
Both of us are getting a bit antsy to get the MoHo out of her pretty shed and on the road. Before mid month January we will be heading south to the desert via the old favorite, I-5. I really miss that hot springs pool at Catalina Spa in Desert Hot Springs. I think we owe a nice Palm Springs dinner to Rick and Paulette as well, and I even miss those silly windmills spinning away.
I also showed Mo some of the reviews that Nina wrote about San Diego, so we are going to give it a try this season after our 7 day Passport America stay at Catalina Spa. Looking forward to something a bit different that we haven’t done before. I haven’t been to the San Diego Zoo since I was a kid. Yippee!!
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
When they say White Christmas, I think this is what they mean. Not only was the ground covered in deep snow, it was coming down in big fat, thick flakes, frosting hats and fur and eyelashes with cold white stuff.
I think the daily hours of shoveling and lifting have been good for me. Kinda like the gym without the boring weights. I lost almost five pounds in the two weeks before Christmas, in spite of the baking. I don’t think I can remember that happening ever. Go figure. Kevin was incredibly tickled that I managed to keep some beer from the Deschutes Brewery for an entire year. Something called the Abyss that was intense enough that I poured my glass full right back into Kevin’s glass. Whew!
Do you think that maybe cash was a good choice for the grandchildren this year?
I am pretty sure Kevin liked his fancy probe BBQ fork, in spite of the face, and you can see that Jeremy really loves having company, all those great laps to try out!
This time I set the table and was actually able to hang around and enjoy it, unlike the previous time I set a Christmas table at the Rocky Point luncheon and lasted less than five minutes before running back home sick. Soooo glad that is over, and in answer to a commenter's question, the vertigo really has passed for now.
We have an old sled with runners, a cheapy plastic thingy that is close to worthless, and another cheapy foamy thingy with fluorescent green something or other on it that I bought for kid sledding last year. I think I used the green thingy more than anyone. The big plastic yellow inner tubes we use for the water just don’t move on snow, so we no longer try them.
Favorite memories include big black inner tubes going down Tubbs Hill in Couer d Alene sliding into the baseball field from the steep mountain and getting bounced off those inner tubes some rather impressive distances. Too many trees on this little sledding hill to try that even if we DID have inner tubes.
Managed to sneak this photo of Melody and Kevin out in the hot tub, soaking away any kind of sledding muscle aches. Oh wait, Kevin was taking photos, not sledding. Still, not a bad way to end a family Christmas Day.
Monday, December 24, 2012
In spite of our slow start to the season this year, Christmas has arrived in full force and I am all the way in the mood. Something about deep snows and bright bluebird skies does a lot toward making things seem all as they should. Mo is finally over her cold and I am over the dizzies for the most part. I decorated the house, put up the outside lights and the snow started falling ten days ago and hasn’t stopped since. We get a little break now and then, but Mo has plowed every single day but one and we have been shoveling the driveway and snow-blowing the pathways every day as well.
Somehow the snows make me feel all is right with the world. Climate change is real. Call it global warming, global weirding, blame it on whatever makes you happy, (I have no idea why this science is colored by politics, but that is another story and I’ll save the arguments for elsewhere) but the real part about climate change is that things will get weird. Things are weird. We didn’t have any snow at Rocky Point for most of December, and it just felt weird. Now, finally, on schedule, the big snows have arrived. And somehow it makes me feel that the climate is giving me a bit of a reprieve. Things are normal. It is cold. It is snowing. I am shoveling and Mo is plowing. It is a good thing. The weather, at least for the moment, and at least here in the West, is doing what it is supposed to be doing.
I worked last week, and still managed to get presents ordered and shipped for the great grandchildren scattered around the country. Presents for my daughters were already taken care of in Prague, gifts to kids and grandkids in the mail. I don’t do as much as I would like to to, but as much as I can manage, and it is enough. This week I started cooking and baking, with a few treasures that Mo and I will never be able to eat, so of course we will share with kids and neighbors. The smell of baking makes things seem all right with the world as well. It has been a quiet time, and a good time.
Daughter Deborah sent oranges and lemons from Texas to brighten my winter days. Daughter number two and her husband are doing Christmas in Mazatlan this year, a last minute decision for a much needed vacation. Son John in Missouri is enjoying his extended family there and we had a nice long conversation the other day. Thank goodness for telephones and email with family scattered all over the country. I hope that someday I can get everyone together in one place at one time, but for now I’ll be grateful for what I have.
Mo gets dozens and dozens of cards from old friends and family. I know I have friends, I know I do. But I think I get about 4 cards. My friend Jeanne never lets me down and always sends an amazing photo of herself somewhere in the world. This year her photo was lovely and full of tropical flowers, even though she is now back home in Vermont. Some of the young soil scientists I have had on my crews are now having families of their own, and I get a few lovely cards with wonderful photos of their babies and families. I really treasure them.
The rest of my friends are just as wonderful as Mo’s friends, but they are all on the internet, hooked up to facebook, and GPlus, and Christmas cards seem to have gone the way of the handwritten letter. I gave up this year and only sent cards to the folks who sent them to me. Is that petty or what?! I had an excuse. I was dizzy. I didn’t even send out the Christmas letter. I resort to the new standby…”want to know what I have been doing? Go read my blog.”
It is Christmas Eve. Tomorrow Melody and her family will be here to spend the day eating, laughing, and sledding in all the wonderful snow. Last year we went for a walk in the woods without a speck of snow to play in, so we are all looking forward to it. I'll have ham, a great one from the local “real” meat store, and I made a luscious peach pie from the Sunset peaches I froze late last summer.
Mo has been building a big fire in the cabin to try to get the snow to slide off the roof. Tonight we decided to “go to the cabin” for our Christmas Eve traditional clam chowder supper. Instead of a long drive to the mountains, we just had to walk down the steps and across the driveway. I carried our little back porch fiber optic Christmas tree and we opened a great bottle of dry Riesling to accompany our meal. The cabin was so warm we had to leave the door open. Turned on the radio for some Christmas music and reminisced about the past year. It has been a good one with lots of travels and friends, and projects started and finished. Another year gone by. I am truly truly blessed.
Monday, December 10, 2012
We picked up Jeremy, who after two weeks boarded at the vet was a bit traumatized but in no time he settled into Mo’s lap and snuggled up for the drive home. What I haven’t talked about is Mo’s bout with a cranky cold, sore throat, cough, and eventually bronchitis that she picked up on the ship. It made our last few days a lot less than pleasant for her, but she was a trooper and hanging in there. Mo slept a lot those last few days, slept most of the way home to Klamath, and still isn’t quite up to par. It isn’t a flu, she had no fever, but it was definitely a nasty thing picked up on that ship somewhere. Not good.
The next part of the plan required a fast trip the next morning to Grants Pass to meet and pay the builder who had completed the MoHo shed. We were excited to see how it looked on the property and to get the MoHo safely tucked away from winter snows. The lucky part for us is that there isn’t yet a sign of our usual winter snows, and with just a slight flurry over the 140 pass, we made the trip to Grants Pass easily.
We were tickled to see the building all bright and shiny, solid and ready for the MoHo. There was plenty of room to drive directly into the driveway, then reverse and back into the building with room to spare. Mo had it built bigger than we needed for the Dynamax in case we ever get something bigger, or if someday the property is sold, someone could fit a 40 footer in there. The building is 21 x 40 with 16 foot ceilings and a 14 foot roll up door. Plenty of room! Also plenty of light with the translucent panels at the top, made from some new tech material that won’t discolor. Once we got the MoHo settled in, we knew it was time to check out the cottage.
We were a bit concerned about the roof of the cottage, which we knew had some problems. Mo worked on it last month but it is really hard to tell exactly where the leaks might be, and she wondered how things had fared during the recent downpours. Check. Well, we knew that eventually we would have to remove this ceiling and find the problem areas, and the rains just helped it along a bit. We turned on the old fashioned gas heater which works great and settled in to wait for the builder. I called my friend Bel, and was incredibly happy to learn that her sister had never left after coming to help out while Bel was hospitalized. My visit could be postponed, much to my relief. I was really having a hard time trying to figure out how I was going to get back on an airplane in two days and go to Florida for a week! It was all just too much. If Bel had been alone, I would have done it, but I decided any amount of extra charge for cancelling my ticket was worth it. Whew! and Check.
Next on the list, we had to drive to Lapine where Mo’s brother lives to get Abby. It is about 115 miles each way, and I knew I would be driving that one as well, since Mo was still pretty sick. We called and talked to Roger and Nancy, and explained that I had the Christmas table for the Ladies Luncheon to do and we couldn’t leave until Friday afternoon, and they insisted that instead of us driving up there, they would bring Abby home to us. Check and Yippee!! So far so good.
I managed to find the glue gun, get the napkin rings made, polish the silver, pack the stemware, and put on a pot of soup for lunch for Roger and Nancy before heading over to the social club to set up the table. Our annual Ladies Luncheon at Rocky Point is one of the special delights of living in a small community. Ladies volunteer to do the tables, and some of the men volunteer to cook and serve, and we have a wonderful time. I was excited to do my first table this year and really looking forward to the day. Check
Saturday morning dawns, and Mo and I are congratulating ourselves on managing to get all the little details handled so well with such a tight schedule and thinking pleasantly about the few days ahead with plenty of time to settle in and actually relax. That is when the universe threw in a little surprise.
At 10:00 am I was happy and fine, getting dressed for the luncheon, and by 10:15 am I was completely and totally incapacitated by vertigo and severe nausea. Crazy. I lost my breakfast, and couldn’t raise my head without being sick. Now what? Geez. My sister and niece arrived, and I kept thinking I could maybe get over it and manage to go but I lasted about five minutes before Mo had to bring me back home. I spent the rest of the day and night in bed with what I discovered to be withdrawal symptoms from the Scopolamine patch!
I have used the patch before, and had a few bits of dizziness afterward, but attributed it to just getting used to being off the ship, and didn’t realize it was related to the patch. When I was finally able to raise my head yesterday, I started reading more about it and learned that this can be a huge problem for people using the scop patch, and that there can be symptoms of withdrawal that can last for weeks. There are all sorts of recommendations for coming off slowly, using drugs to deal with the nausea that will happen when you come off the scop, and ways to avoid using it altogether. I used the patch on this cruise as it was prescribed, and had it on for the entire trip after being so sick the first day. I guess I won’t do that again! Or at least if I do, I’ll try to manage the withdrawal better. Discussions on the internet talk about people waiting to stop the patch until they have time to handle the vomiting for a few days. Sheesh!
I have no idea when we will cruise again but you can bet I will be looking for alternatives to the scopolamine patch. Mo and I were quite a pair today. We spent all of Sunday on the sofa and in the recliner, doing absolutely nothing. It is weird being ill, though, and especially weird having Mo be ill since she is so rarely sick. Makes my world feel all discombobulated and loose. I fell asleep last night at 9, only to wake again at 11 and have been awake ever since. Decided at 2:30 that I might as well get up and try to remember what I am supposed to be doing!
Everyone enjoyed the luncheon, Mo said my table was a hit, and everyone pitched in to help collect my dishes, crystal, and silver after it was over. Some volunteer I am! Sheesh.
Mo seems to be coughing less, and I seem to be a bit less disoriented, so maybe life will return to something looking like normal this morning. I am ready. Christmas is coming and I am pretty sure I am supposed to be doing something important! Check.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Dinner was less than exciting, with some different choices that were a bit obscure, but Mo's pork chops were extremely tender and my simple fettuccini in a Parmesan basket was comfort food at its finest.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
There are lots of things going on every day that we don't bother doing, dance classes, line dancing, karaoke, late night parties, trivia contests, juggling lessons, bingo, art auctions. I have to admit that all those social things are a bit boring to me. I would rather watch the ocean and knit.
This afternoon we will port at Ensenada, Mexico, for all of four hours, just long enough to stretch our legs and hear some mariachi music. We will be back on board in time for another dining room dinner if we don't succumb to some really good Mexican food at port. Our waitress, Elena from Romania, is an interesting person, very professional, but a bit strong willed. She works hard to get us to buy wine every night (which we don't) and to get Mo to eat dessert (which she doesn't).
The seas were a bit high when we first left Honolulu, but for the last couple of days we have felt very little movement. I put on another patch this morning, getting ready for our northern route along the coast from Ensenada to San Francisco. We have had mostly sunny skies while California has been inundated with storms. The Captain warned us that our last day at sea, tomorrow, could be rough, with rain and wind on the decks.
I took a moment this morning to check the home weather, trying to gauge what our drive home might entail. We hope to get off the ship in time to drive to Klamath Falls and arrive before 5:30 so I can pick up Jeremy from his two week adventure at the vet. With him being elderly, I felt better about the vet boarding than our usual Double C boarding place.
Yes, I can feel the type a thing returning. We have one day to get the MoHo down to Grants Pass, with emails from the contractor telling us that the RV shed is completed. We have rain predicted for Thursday with snow coming by the weekend. Often by this time of year, the MoHo would be snowed in at Rocky Point and we would have to chain up to get her over the mountain. Blind luck!
I am going through in my mind all the steps needed on Friday as I decorate my table for the annual Ladies Luncheon in Rocky Point on Saturday. The men cook and ladies volunteer to do a table for eight and there are usually close to a hundred women at the luncheon.