Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie
Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Rylie and Me on Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach was fun! It was great seeing Cammie, Julie and Bob and my friend DeAnn. We had some nice walks on the beach, dinners in and out, and a nice picnic lunch on a bluff overlooking the ocean in Cambria. We also went to see the elephant seals, and were lucky to see the first pup born this season on the beach north of Cambria, which had just been born that morning. We watched for awhile to see if it would learn how to nurse, but it had not figured it out before we left.

Elephant Seal and Newborn Pup

Julie, DeAnn, Cammie and Me Having a Picnic

View from Picnic Spot

Pismo Beach is one of the few beaches that allows dogs. Rylie was so happy to be running on the beach again. As happy as he was, it still couldn't hold a candle to how happy he was to see Cammie. He was even happy to see her dog, Laila.

Cammie and I both had car troubles while we were in Pismo Beach. I had to get a valve replaced on my car and she had to get two new tires after running over a ladder on the freeway. She was lucky she didn't have an accident. Her tire troubles happened the night we had tickets to see the play White Christmas in Santa Maria. It was a really good show.

From Pismo Beach I went up to the Bay Area to celebrate Christmas with Cammie, Brian and his family. I was so grateful to have such quality time with family and friends.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff really likes to walk on the beach, so I indulged her. Sometimes I even let her off the leash.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So Long, Yuma!

Sunset in Yuma

I was working in the Foothills area of East Yuma shortly before I left, and managed to catch one of those desert pink sky sunsets with my camera. The mountains are very stark and dramatic, and make a nice contrast for the cotton candy skies.

I left Yuma on Monday and stopped for a couple of nights to visit my friend Tami near Temecula. I must say, it's cold in California! I have had to drive through some weather -- although luckily no snow -- and the temps have been a bit chilly after the warmth of Yuma. I was working in short sleeves and sandals until just a few days ago. Talk about spoiled! Now I am in Pismo Beach, where I will visit with Julie, Bob, DeAnn, and Cammie, when she comes down for the weekend. Then I will head up to the Bay Area for a Christmas celebration up there, then head to Phoenix for my next work assignment. Whew! That's a lot of running around!

Rylie seemed to remember the RV park near Temecula, and was happily sniffing around on our walks. Luckily there were no explosions happening this time. He also doesn't have to deal with the explosions from the Yuma Proving Grounds that we would sometimes hear during our walks. Every time he heard one, he took off like a shot for home. I don't like to see him so scared, but it does get me running more.

Rylie's Notes:

I'm not scared of loud noises, I just act like I am to get The Staff running more. How else am I going to get her in shape?

Monday, December 08, 2008

A New Faucet

I finally got that el cheapo faucet in my bathroom replaced. I like the new one so much better. The other one failed to turn off several times so I had to keep fiddling with it. I had an RV tech install the new one for me, and it's a good thing I didn't attempt it myself. It turned out to be a very tricky job that required long arms and extra parts. Poor Lee, the RV tech, had to practically stand on his head in my tiny little bathroom in order to do the job. I also had him do the maintenance on my appliances while he was here. If you need a good RV tech with very reasonable rates in Yuma, call Pro Mobile RV Service.

Other than that, I've just been working and Christmas shopping. I have been going all over town trying to find a particular item on someone's Christmas list, but every store seems to be out of it. Frustrating! I'm finishing up my work in Yuma in the next week, and then I'll be moving on. Depending on when my work is done, I will either stop in Phoenix, or else go directly to Pismo Beach for an early Christmas celebration with Cammie, Julie and Bob. I'm excited for a good dose of family. After Christmas I'll head to Phoenix for more work.

I also have been losing some weight. I gained weight after I had to quit running some years ago because of a back problem, and I decided it was time to get rid of it. So far I have lost 15 pounds, and my clothes are definitely getting loser. I might have to go clothes shopping! It's going to be tough to stay on track during the holidays, but I am determined.

Rylie's Notes:

I have taken it upon myself to be The Staff's personal trainer. I get her moving faster on our walks, so she probably couldn't have lost the weight without me. I have also been working on getting her to give me some of the food she is eating so that she doesn't eat as much, but so far she just isn't getting the message. She is a bit oblivious sometimes.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Los Algodones, Mexico

I couldn't come to Yuma and not go to Mexico, since it is only a hop, skip and a jump from here. Norm and Jerri have been there a few times to have dental work done at a fraction of the price, get cheap prescription drugs and other stuff, so they showed me around. We watched some of the artisans doing their crafts, like the guys who paint amazing scenes on vases, lanterns, satellite dishes -- you name it. They do it with paint from spray cans and only paper, cardboard or plastic bags for brushes. I couldn't believe how quickly they completed their art work. We also saw a young woman weaving a table runner on her knees on the sidewalk with a hand-held loom.

There are many shops with the same trinkets, and all of the workers are trying to make a sale, so you have to get used to their salesmanship. I love the bright colors that are so prevalent in the Latino culture, and I bought a couple of small pottery items. We had a lunch of shrimp tacos at a little taco stand, which you see below.

Taco Stand

While we were walking around we saw a park that had a view of the back side of Pilot Knob, the hill we hiked the other day.

Back View of Pilot Knob

When it was time to cross the border back into the states, we had to wait a bit in line. There are so many people that cross the border every day for their dental and other work, prescription drugs and shopping, and the lines gets longer as more snowbirds come to Yuma for the winter.

Border Crossing Line

Norm and Jerri

Norm and Jerri left for Baja for the winter shortly after our day in Algadones. I sure wish I could have followed them down to the beach for the winter. What a wonderful experience that was, and such a different way of living than we are used to in the hectic ratrace of life in America.

Rylie's Notes:

What is this ratrace that The Staff speaks of? Dogs don't know the ratrace. Our days are filled with scent-filled walks, long, leisurely naps, chasing squirrels, cats, or whatever else will move quickly, and figuring out how to get more treats. We show equal interest in bugs, trash, and the message left by the previous dog. The world is filled with interesting things, but people rarely notice them.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pilot Knob

View from the top of Pilot Knob

Last week I met Norm and Jerri out on the BLM land they are camped on at Pilot Knob, and we hiked up the hill. You can see forever from up there, but most of it is bare desert. A bit like the moon, I think. You can also see Los Algodones, Mexico, but the sun was in that direction so I couldn't get a photo. One of the little specks that you see in the photo above is Norm and Jerri's motorhome.

Another View from Pilot Knob

Norm and Jerri

Norm and Jerri are camped here near Yuma until they cross the border and head to Baja again this week. I sure wish I were going with them. I envy all of these retired folks, especially the ones that were lucky enough to retire early.

I'm still loving the weather in Yuma. It is in the low 80's these days, and almost always sunny. It does get windy here and there, but that's a small price to pay for all of this sunshine.

My water heater went on the fritz this past week. I removed the circuit board and took that in to be tested, but it was fine, so I called the RV tech to come out. It turns out that the burner was set too high and it burned out the thermo fuse. He had to test it with a special tool, so there's no way I could have figured that out on my own. He got it replaced and adjusted the burner, so I'm in hot water again. I was happy that I didn't have to replace the circuit board, because those are a bit pricey.

Rylie's Notes:

I have been training The Staff to run more on our morning walks. She is still pretty slow, but maybe eventually she'll be able to keep up with me. On second thought, I don't think so.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Goats, Dancing, and Refrigerators

Because I often work in rural areas, I am no stranger to livestock. However, I'm not accustomed to having goats on top of my car. The other day I drove up to a home and knocked on the door to show an aerial photo. While I was doing so, a herd of five goats approached my car, and two of them hopped up on the trunk. From there they proceeded to the roof, until I scurried over there to shoo them off. They took their exit over the hood, so now I have goat hoof scratches over the entire top surface of my car, plus a little dent in the roof. I guess this job comes with unusual hazards. I wonder if my insurance covers goat damage.

On Wednesday night they had another dance here at the RV park. This one was a lot more fun because they had a good band that played 50's and 60's music. These retired folks can get down! I had fun dancing and there was good energy in the crowd.

I learned recently that my refrigerator is included in the expanded Dometic recall list, so I had an RV tech out this week to do the recall repair work. It was surprisingly simple, but apparently it is hard to find an RV tech willing to come out and do the work, since Dometic doesn't pay them very much. I'm glad to have that done, and I think I'll have the RV tech out again to do some more work for me before I leave.

On Thursday I had dinner with Norm and Jerri, my good pals from Baja. They are stopped in Yuma on their way to Baja again. I always have fun with them. I sure would love to be heading to Baja with them, but some of us have to work for a living. Tomorrow we are going for a hike.

Rylie's Notes:

It's too bad The Staff doesn't bring me to work with her, because I could have kept those goats off the car. I could have fixed the refrigerator too, but there's no way I would get out on the dance floor. It's not dignified.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Thar She Blows

Today was a blustery day, as Winnie would say. There was quite a dust storm brewing as I was driving to work. The visibility was poor, and it almost looked like fog. I was only able to work for an hour before the dirt drove me home. There is a lot of dirt in Yuma to be blown around, and the area where I'm working is mostly dirt roads. I had dirt in my eyes and my throat, and it was accumulating on the photos, so I had to pack it in. Instead I did something I haven't done for a very long time: I had a double feature movie afternoon. I watched 21 and No Country for Old Men. I thought both were pretty good, although No Country was pretty depressing (and violent) and the ending left me feeling unsatisfied. The wind was blowing all sorts of things around the RV park, and it even blew off one of my tire covers.

Recently I learned how to play Texas Hold Em online for free, so I'm hoping to get better at that. I'm pretty terrible so far. But I can see how it might be addicting and become a big time vacuum. I also played cribbage at the clubhouse here on my day off. They have a lot of activities going on here, but most of them seem to be while I'm working. As my work days get shorter with the decreased daylight, I might be able to participate in more of the activities.

Rylie's Notes:

Windy days are exhilarating. They produce a smorgasbord of smells that bombard the sensitive noses of dogs. It's almost as good as riding in the car with your head out the window.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Phyllis at the Halloween Dance

I didn't go trick or treating, but after work I did dress up in a poodle skirt costume and go to a Halloween party here at the RV park. They even had a band, so I did a little dancing. The folks here are very nice and friendly, and they always have a lot of activities going on.

Me in My Costume

The temperature has still been in the mid-90's here, but today was a little cooler. It seems weird to be having such hot weather at this time of year, but I do like the sunshine. I also have been enjoying going for a swim in the pool now and then. I think it's supposed to be in the 80's now and cooler at night, so that should be perfect. Sales continue to go well, and I feel fortunate to be here.

In other news, Rylie lost 1-1/2 pounds! I can tell he is feeling better, because he wants to run more on our morning walks. Tonight I had him in the off-leash dog area and he was tearing around like a puppy. It's good to see him having fun, since I can't get him to fetch a ball or anything else, and he rarely plays with other dogs. I thought he was a fuddy duddy, but I guess he still has some get up and go.

Rylie's Notes:

I'm the fuddy duddy? I've just been trying to get The Staff moving, since all she seems to do is work and sit at the computer. And why would I want to fetch a ball? Every time I go pick it up for her and bring it back, she just throws it again. She is a like a baby that keeps throwing a toy on the floor just to watch someone pick it up. Where is the sense in that?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Portland Fairview RV Park and Yuma

I just thought I would mention that I was pretty happy with the RV park that I stayed in while I was in the Portland area. It was the Portland Fairview RV Park located in Fairview. Fairview is on the east side of Portland and close to the Columbia River Gorge. This park has a few amenities like a small pool, hot tub, and fitness room, but it has nice trees throughout the park, grass in each site, and a lot of them are pull-through sites. It also has a creek, a pond with a lot of ducks, and Rylie and I did see that beaver. The daily rate there is on the pricey side, but they have a pretty good monthly rate. I would stay there again.

I just had a quick visit with Julie and Bob. They stopped here in Yuma on their way from Mesa, AZ to Southern California. Julie and I had a walk with Rylie in the morning. We tried two different parks, but both were having noise from nearby explosions, of course scaredy cat Rylie wanted to hightail it home. He did not want to walk once he heard the noises, but we managed to finish the walks and make it back to the car without too much of a fuss.

After that we went to the pool for a bit, and then later Bob joined us for dinner and a movie. We saw Eagle Eye, which was good. Very suspenseful, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time.

Rylie's Notes:

It was good to see the Sibling Staff, but they just don't hang around long enough. I don't understand how The Staff and Sibling Staff could walk with all of that racket going on. And I am deeply insulted that The Staff would use the word "cat" when referring to me. She's just mad about the Diet Coke photo.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Now just because my tattle tale dog posted a compromising photo, I don't want you to get the wrong idea. Yes, I am still drinking Diet Coke. However, I have really cut down on my consumption. Instead of having two Diet Cokes every day, I am only drinking one every other day. Besides, that was just a little can in the photo, one of those tiny sizes. That's hardly enough to wet your whistle. Okay, I admit that I might slip up now and then and have one on my day of non-consumption, but that's because I'm really tired. Since I don't drink coffee, that's how I perk myself up when I'm really dragging. Oh come on, as if you don't know what that's like! It's hard kicking this habit!

In other news, I had a good -- although way too quick -- visit in the Bay Area on my way to Yuma. I spent time with Cammie and Brian, and my friends Nancy, Brenda and Carolyn, and attended to various medical and dental appointments. I also got new tires for my car and got the motorhome washed and waxed. Thanks Brian! I drove from Northern California to the Bay Area in the first rain since last winter. In case you don't know what that is like, all of the oils that have been accumulating on the roads since the last rain all come up during the first rain of the season in California. When I arrived in Pleasanton, my motorhome, car and bike were covered in oil. It was a mess!

I also stopped along the way to have lunch with Lorna and Calicia, some of my Lazy Daze friends. Lorna and I traveled in Baja together, but Calicia I had not seen since New Mexico two years ago. It was great catching up with them, but the visit was much too short.

I was hoping to stay in the Escapees RV park in Yuma so that I could get a really good monthly rate, but I after arriving I discovered that I could not get cell phone or internet access there. Apparently, the airport and marine air base were between me and the Verizon cell tower. So I have moved to a different RV park, and I like it. Sales have been going really well so far, and the people are very friendly. It is still pretty hot, but it should be cooling down a bit soon. Rylie and I have had some nice morning walks, I have been swimming several times in the pool here, plus I had a nice little bike ride the other day. I'm a happy camper!

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff makes it sound all so innocent, doesn't she? Just a little extra Diet Coke here and there, nothing to be concerned about. Well, she is stocking Diet Coke in the refrigerator again, and when she takes that first sip, she looks like a druggie getting her first hit. I might have to do an intervention.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Before leaving the Northwest, I took a detour up to Canada to see the Vancouver area for the first time. Although I only had a few days up there, I was able to get a good sampling of the area. The Vancouver metropolitan area is larger than I expected, but it is surrounded by plenty of water, mountains and greenery and it's beautiful. My photos are not the best, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

I went to Stanley Park, which is enormous and right in Vancouver. The totem poles below are in Stanley Park.

Steveston is a coastal town near Vancouver, and I had a very pleasant lunch out on the wharf. I was lucky in that the weather was really beautiful while I was in Canada.

Steveston Wharf

Another day I had a really lovely drive up to Whistler, but first stopped for a break at Porteau Cove. There is a campground here where many of the sites are right next to the water. I didn't have my motorhome with me on this trip, but if I had, I would have loved to camp here.

Porteau Cove

As you may know, the 2010 Olympics are being held in Vancouver and Whistler, and I was fortunate enough to see some of the venues they will be using. Whistler is such a nice ski town, and quite the mountain biking destination, from what I saw. If you aren't feeling that active, there are many nice restaurants and shops, and the hotels are very picturesque.



Rylie's Notes:

I liked the Vancouver area. It is a dog-friendly place, and I had some nice walks in the forest, part of which were in off leash areas. I also met a plenty of dogs, and they were all friendly.

In case any of you readers were wondering how The Staff has been doing kicking the Diet Coke habit, I snapped this photo recently when she thought no one was looking:

Enough said.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Angel's Rest

View from Angel's Rest

While in Portland, we did the Angel's Rest hike in the Columbia River gorge. It's up all the way, and I was "glistening" like crazy. (Men sweat, women glisten.) I found this hike in my Portland dog hikes book. The view from the top is spectacular. There are so many excellent hikes in this area, and I really wish that I could have done more of them.

We Made It to the Top

Rylie loves going on hikes, but he was one tired puppy on the way down from this one.

Tired Hiking Puppy

Although I felt a sense of loss as I did it, I left the Portland area to head South. I could easily see myself living in the Portland area in the summer, but I don't know if I could handle all of the gray cotton skies and weeping rain of winter. I left at just the right time, as the rains were settling in for a long visit. Now I am in the San Francisco Bay Area visiting with Cammie and friends on my way to Yuma, Arizona. I'll be working in Arizona and perhaps Southern California for the fall and winter.

Rylie's Notes:

I don't know how the ducks will get along without me to herd them off the road. They liked to take their nap right in the path of oncoming traffic, so it was my job to move them over to the grass in the morning. Sure they gave me some flak about it, but I was only looking out for their best interests.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ft. Stevens State Park

Lake at Ft. Stevens State Park

A couple of weeks ago, I spent the weekend at Ft. Stevens State Park near Astoria, Oregon. The Northwest Lazy Daze group had a get together there, and I had a great time there. A good assortment of things to see and do are there, with bike trails, the beach, a lake, and several coast towns nearby. Then of course there was the Lazy Daze group, which is a fun and nice group of people. Some of my Baja friends are members of this group, so I decided to join too. As usual with these get togethers, there was a lot of food to be consumed and stories to be swapped.

Saturday turned out foggy and cool, as you can see from the photo of the shipwreck on the beach below, but the rest of the weekend was beautiful, and the fog didn't hamper our fun one bit. Rylie really enjoyed a long romp on the beach. It's so nice that Oregon allows dogs on the beach, although they are supposed to be leashed. We are used to California, where so few beaches allow dogs at all. Rylie doesn't like water one bit, but he loves to run and dig on the beach. His day at the beach is even better if he can find something stinky to roll around in, and there are often stinky, dead things on the beach to roll around in.

At Ft. Stevens there is also a lake, as you can see in the above photo. Rylie had a nice walk around the lake too.

Shipwreck on the Beach

I brought my bike, and had a couple of nice bike rides while I was there. One was to the fort, which was interesting to see. There is also a museum, which we also checked out. Tours are available of the fort, although I didn't do that. I also had a nice lunch in Astoria.

Bike Ride Gang

I loved this get together, and I hope to go to future events with this group.

Rylie's Notes:

Ahhh, the beach. I love the beach. So many good smells on the beach, and The Staff let me run to my heart's content. I even managed to roll around in something before The Staff stopped me, although it wasn't very stinky. I still fondly remember the time I found a dead seal flipper on a beach in California to roll around in. The Staff was not happy with me that day, and there was a fast bath with furious scrubbing, as I recall. tee hee hee

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mt. St. Helens

One of the sightseeing trips I have done recently is to Mt. St. Helens. Unfortunately, this is what I saw of the volcano:

Not much, due to the fog and clouds. That's okay, it was still an interesting trip. I saw a lot of elk off in the distance, and learned a lot of interesting stuff at the visitor centers. I had visited Mt. St. Helens in the early 90's, and I was amazed at how it has changed since I last saw it. I remembered seeing the devastation covering the area, where huge trees were scattered around the ground like matches from a spilled box. But in the 18 or so years since then, nature had been busy re-establishing herself, and now I saw trees and forest where before there was only death and destruction of the forest. It was comforting to see how nature heals. I recommend a trip there, and if you go, be sure to see the movie they have at the top.

Rylie's Notes:

Another day trip and I wasn't invited. That's okay, I snuck out and visited the sweet, young thing up the block. She's a breed called a malti-poo, maltese and poodle. I don't think I would want to be called anything poo. How about malti-oodle?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Japanese Gardens

As you can see, I managed to figure out my photo problem. I don't want to talk about it. Instead, I'll talk about the Japanese gardens in Portland. What a lovely, peaceful place to spend an afternoon.

There are plenty of ponds, bridges and meditation gardens to enjoy, and an assortment of colorful koi fish to admire. Big ones. It is so refreshing to be in such a lush, green refuge.

The Japanese gardens are very close to the rose gardens, so I took a stroll through that as well. I don't have photos of that, but you can imagine the color and fragrance one might encounter there. In Portland you can run into quite a few gray days, and I thought that spending time in the Japanese and rose gardens was a good way to spend one.

Rylie's Notes:

Of course I wasn't invited to the gardens. Just think of all of the new territory I could have marked there. What a pity.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Computer Problems

I've been off having more fun, but I have also been having some computer problems. My internet connection here is really slow, but my computer also seems to have really slowed down. To top it off, my photos suddenly started saving in black and white, without me doing anything different in the way that I save them. I can't figure out how to fix it. The photos are in color in my camera software on the computer, but when I resize them in Irfanview and save them in a folder so that I can post them or email them, they are black and white. This has never happened before. Grrrr and double grrrr. So I can't post any photos, and that is why I haven't done a blog post for a bit, even though I have some fun things to talk about. I will try again tonight after work to figure it out. If any of you have any helpful suggestions, I would love to hear them: heidilyoung@yahoo.com.

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff seems to be getting a little frustrated with the computer software. I might need to take over.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Where Have I Been?

Is that what you were wondering? Well, I've been to lots of places and had a very fun week. Since I don't have my photos ready to post, I'll talk about one of the places I went where I wasn't able to take photos -- a concert.

I was really lucky to see Sheryl Crow in concert. While having dinner there another night I discovered that she was doing an outdoor concert at Edgefield in Troutdale, but the show had been sold out for awhile. Someone recommended going for an early dinner at the restaurant and sitting outside to hear the music, although I wouldn't be able to see the stage. So that was the plan until someone had tickets they wanted to sell. I felt very fortunate to get in to see this concert, since I like Sheryl Crow. It was a fun concert. It's all lawn seating, but it was a beautiful summer night and the music was great. James Blunt was the opening band, and I enjoyed him too. That evening was such an unexpected treat. I hadn't been to a concert for quite some time.

The Portland area has really been growing on me, although I liked it from when I was here a long time ago. It is overcast a lot and there have been quite a few rainy and quite cool days, but there is so much to do and see in this area. It is very beautiful. I love all of the rivers and trees around here.

In other news, I have a new bike! It's a Giant Cypress, one of those ones where you sit up really straight and it's so comfortable. I really like it. There are so many bike trails in this area and pretty places to ride, so I'm really going to enjoy having it here. Fun!

Rylie's Notes:

I don't like the bike. I want to chase it, but The Staff won't let me. Grrrr.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

First Heat, Then Rain

After the three day heat wave was done, then the storms moved in and we had quite a bit of rain and, thankfully, much cooler temperatures. We had some thunderstorms too. I love the sound of the rain on the roof, but it does put quite a damper on my work day. I haven't gotten much work done in the past week. I have attempted to work every day, except yesterday, but I kept getting rained out -- or melted out, on the hot days. Instead, I met up with a friend from Baja last night at Edgefield Manor in Troutdale. This is quite the complex with a hotel, several restaurants and pubs, a concert venue, a movie theater, a brewery and a winery, plus they have a number of artisans on the premises. I didn't get to see everything and I have no photos, so I'll have to go back to do a more thorough investigation. Tonight I had dinner with some Air Photo friends who were working in the area, so I feel like I have done quite a bit of goofing off lately. It's time to get some work done.

I think Rylie needs a new diversion. He has been getting obstinate lately. I wish I could get him to fetch a ball or a stick, or play in the water, but he couldn't be less interested. He rarely plays with other dogs, so he doesn't seem interested in doing much other than chasing cats, squirrels, ducks and other small critters.

Rylie's Notes:

I would be happy to play fetch. All that The Staff needs to do is throw a few treats. Then I'll play fetch.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River from Crown Point

It was 100+ degrees today for the third day in a row, and a bit more humid than what I'm used to, so I decided it was too hot to do much working. After a couple of hours of work I threw in the towel and went for a drive up the Columbia River gorge. I took the Columbia River Scenic Highway this time, and boy is that a beautiful drive. My first stop was at Crown Point, where they have the Vista House.

Vista House

I'm not quite sure why they call this a house, since it is really a visitor's center and gift shop, but I guess they can call it whatever they like. My next stop was at Wahkeena Falls, but you really can't get a good photo of those falls from the viewing area near the road. Instead, I moseyed up the road to Multnomah Falls, which is the second largest year-round waterfall in the nation.

Multnomah Falls

Upper Multnomah Falls

Looking Down at Lower Multnomah Falls from the Bridge

I climbed the short distance up to the bridge for a closer look, then stuck my head in the gift shop for a quick peek on the way out. They also have a restaurant here, and a snack bar, but I didn't check those out. The river was packed with people today, and cars were lined up along the road everywhere that they had room to park.

In case you are wondering how I am doing with the Diet Coke, I can tell you that for the past three days I was held hostage by the caffeine. I had such bad headaches that I had either a Diet or regular Coke each day. Two steps forward, three steps back. But today I managed to make it through the day without anything, and the headache wasn't as bad today.

The other night I stopped at the grocery store on one of those days when I was having the bad withdrawal headache, and I found myself going down the soda isle. They had Diet Coke on sale, buy two-twelve packs, get three free. Diet Coke AND a bargain -- how cruel! I stood there for a good five minutes battling with myself over whether to buy it or not. I'm sure the other customers were wondering what I was doing, hanging out there so long. I finally walked away without the Diet Coke, but that was a close one.

Because of the heat, Rylie has not been very interested in going for walks, other than our morning walk when it is cooler. At the other times during the day when I bring him out for a walk, he lays down in the grass as soon as we step outside of the motorhome, letting me know that it is too hot for a stroll. I let him do his business on the nearby tree and we hop back into the air conditioned comfort of the motorhome. It is supposed to be a little cooler tomorrow.

Rylie's Notes:

Did someone order a sauna?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Off the Wagon

I made it through two days without a Diet Coke, but today, I caved. It has been about a week that I've been battling a headache and today it was the worst. It would not even give in to my trusty Advil, so I dug out the emergency Diet Coke from under the sink and slurped it down. Boy did that taste good. Maybe it was psychological, but my headache finally disappeared. Don't worry, I'll be back on the wagon tomorrow.

I got to work along a river for a bit today, and that was really soothing. What is it about water that is so peaceful? I do like working in this area, although it is getting hot again. It was nice sitting outside for a bit tonight. I love summer evenings.

Rylie is getting bored. He went after my memory foam mattress when I took off the mattress cover to wash it yesterday. I didn't have time to put the cover back on before I went to work, and apparently the memory foam mattress looked like it needed a good biting. It's not like him to chew on things that don't belong to him. I think we both need a good, long hike.

Rylie's Notes:

A hike would be good. It would be even better if it has squirrels, rabbits, mice, or birds to chase. I'll even chase flies.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day One

Well, I made it through my first day without a Diet Coke. That may seem like small potatoes to you, but for someone who has not gone a day without it for years, and who has a bit of an emotional attachment to it, it's an accomplishment. It was easier than I thought, but I have a feeling it will get more difficult, especially because it is supposed to get quite hot by the end of the week. There's nothing like drinking a Diet Coke on ice on a hot day...

One day down, the rest of my life to go. Well, not really. I'm sure I will probably have a Diet Coke again at some point in my life, but I'm not going to get into that daily habit again. Is that what the alcoholics say?

Rylie's Notes:

Big deal. Do you know how long I've gone without the raw food?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Kicking the Habit

Hi, my name is Heidi, and I'm a Diet Coke-aholic. Is there a twelve step group for that, because I think I need it. I have never liked the taste of coffee, so Diet Coke has been my caffeine vehicle of choice for years. Well, that and chocolate, but that's a different support group.

Somewhere along the line I got in the habit of having a Diet Coke with my breakfast, just like you would your cup of coffee. I also looked forward to it like you do your morning cup of coffee. Pretty soon I found myself having one with lunch as well, and if I was in a restaurant where they offered free refills, I would go for it. I realize that all of this Diet Coke is not good for me, but I have not been willing to go through the detox until now. At least I think I'm willing. We'll see.

I decided that when my current stockpile of Diet Coke was gone, I would not buy any more to have at home. It's gone now, except for the two cans I have hidden under the sink in case of an emergency. (I know exactly where they are. Don't you dare touch them.) So this week I have not been having my usual morning current with breakfast. I must say, I don't look forward to breakfast like I used to. Maybe that's why I have been waking up with a headache every day this week. Or it could just be stress. I have been feeling stressed this week. It can't be from the lack of caffeine, because I'm still having one at lunch. I figure I need to decrease my consumption a bit before I go cold turkey so that my system doesn't go into shock. Cold turkey is coming soon.

All of this talk about going cold turkey is making me anxious -- and thirsty....Make that one Diet Coke under the sink.

Rylie's Notes:

I remember when I had to go cold turkey with the freeze dried raw food. The Staff said it was too expensive and too hard to find on the road. She didn't consult me about going cold turkey on the food, she just did it. I think I know a good hiding place for that can of Diet Coke under the sink.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Camp 18, the Coast, and Ice Cream

I took a day off and spent it with Norm and Jerri, some friends that I met when I was in Baja and haven't seen since we crossed the border back into the states. It was really fun catching up with them. They took me to Camp 18, an old logging camp that is now a restaurant, where we had a tasty lunch.

Norm and Jerri at Camp 18

Old Logging Equipment

Camp 18 Restaurant

From Camp 18 we drove to the coast, which is dramatic and beautiful, but I have no photos to share since we didn't stop until we got to Tillamook. If you go to Tillamook you can get cheese, or ice cream. I think that's a no brainer, don't you? The ice cream was delicious. You can also see the factory where they make the cheese, although nothing was happening in the factory while we were there. I guess the cows had the day off.

Rylie's Notes:

Did someone say cows?

Monday, August 04, 2008

This and That

What first made me realize, upon arriving in Oregon, that Toto and I were not in Kansas anymore was when I stopped at the gas station. In Oregon, they pump your gas for you, just like in the old days. I was told that Oregon and New Jersey are the only states that do this by law. It can make for some longer waits to get gas, but it's kind of nice.

For the first couple of weeks after I got here, it was snowing every day. At least that's what it looked like. The cottonwood trees were shedding and it looked like constant snow flurries. It has settled down now. It's so nice and green here, with all of the old forest. It's very pretty. The people are nice too, and quite friendly.

Rylie and I made another attempt to find a good walking trail yesterday but we were foiled again. The road to the trail that I heard about was closed off for a triathalon. We watched the runners and bicyclists for a bit. Doesn't watching someone run or bike burn calories?

Rylie has been pretty determined to chase cats lately, so I have to keep a tight hold on the leash when one is nearby.

Rylie's Notes:

Those cats like to taunt me. The Staff doesn't hear what they are saying, but I can. They say things like, "Look at the big baby, he has to have his mommy hold the leash." If I could get free of this leash just once, we would see who acts like a baby.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Walking in Portland

Rylie and I like to have a morning walk that lasts about an hour. That satisfies his walking and sniffing needs and sets him up for his afternoon nap, and it gets my circulation going and always makes me feel better. I had heard that there was a nice walk not far from our RV park that goes along the river, but when we went there, we discovered that no pets are allowed. From there we went to Blue Lake park, but they don't allow pets either. I'm not feeling the pet love here, I must say. Surely there is a good place for people to walk with their dogs, I just haven't had enough time to explore and discover yet. In the meantime, we will continue to do our walks along the neighboring streets, but I would prefer a prettier, less congested place to stretch our legs.

We had some rain yesterday, so I had a shorter work day. I used the time to explore a little of the area near our place and discovered some of the stores and restaurants that I like to frequent. I went to the PetsMart to get more kong treats and deposit bags for Rylie, and discovered a Quiznos and a Ross in the same shopping center. I like those chopped salads with flatbread at Quiznos -- yum! Ross has good bargains, and I love a bargain.

Rylie's Notes:

Yesterday was a good day. I got to chase a squirrel up a tree, met a new beagle, and The Staff brought home the goods: kong treats and chicken chips. Score!

Friday, July 25, 2008

VooDoo Doughnuts

Giant Donut

I had a nice visit with Julie and Bob on Monday and Tuesday. We went out for dinner and to see the movie "Dark Knight." We all thought it was good and that Heath Ledger did an excellent job as The Joker. It's a shame he isn't alive, since he probably would have gotten an award nomination for that role.

The next day Julie and I drove to Portland to walk around downtown and have lunch, but our first stop was VooDoo Doughnuts. We had read about this place in one of the guide books, and we were both curious. They have a crazy assortment of donuts -- not your usual donut shop menu. Although neither of us eats donuts very often, we each had to get a "blood-filled" voodoo doll donut, which is stuck with a pretzel instead of a pin. They had the giant donut you see above, a donut with bacon on it, donuts with cocoa puffs, or rice krispies, or chocolate chips. I don't think I would want to eat most of the donuts they offered, but it was interesting to see.

We also went to the Nob Hill area and poked around in the shops. Julie and Bob left for Mt. St. Helens the next day. They also plan to go to Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, and then on to Minnesota. I was really wishing that I didn't have to work so that I could join them on some of those adventures. This working stuff is for the birds.

VooDoo Doll Donut

More Donuts

Rylie found a beaver in our RV park. We walk past a creek every day and he had been very curious about something in the brush that we heard moving around in there occasionally, but one evening we hung around a bit to watch, and eventually a beaver waddled out of the brush and into the creek. I can see that he has built a dam already. I don't think I've ever seen a beaver at work before.

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff is so dense sometimes. I told her about four or five times that there was a beaver in the bushes, but did she pay attention? I bet that beaver can't wag that tail fast. It was good to see the Sibling Staff. Too bad they couldn't hang around longer.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Mt. Hood

After a quick visit in the Bay Area with Cammie, Brian and Nancy, I made my way up to Portland. It seemed that the heat wave was tailing me from the Central Coast, to the Bay Area, and even in Portland. It was in the high 90's on Sunday, my first day of work, but it has cooled down considerably now. I am enjoying being in this area, and I am having visitors already. Julie and Bob will be here Monday for a couple of days as they make their way north.

I had a few days off before my work arrived, and I enjoyed them immensely. I had a drive up the Columbia River gorge and around Mt Hood. I also went to the outdoor market that they have every weekend along the river in Portland. Not only that, but the bugs have been cleaned off the motorhome and it is bright and shiny again. I feel much better now that this has been done.

I didn't care for the first RV park that I stayed in, because it was close to a water treatment facility and was very stinky, but I'm in a better place now. There is some noise from the train tracks that are very close by, but Rylie does not seem bothered by the noise, so I guess it will be okay. I am happy to be in this area for the summer, although I'm sad that I won't be able to visit my family in Minnesota this summer.

Rylie's Notes:

Still no cow sightings. There are some ducks here, which are only mildly interesting, but I did see a rabbit the other day, so maybe there will be some entertainment here. Last night there was a cat, RIGHT UNDER OUR CAR, but The Staff would not let me flush it out. She is no fun at all.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

El Chorro Regional Park

I've been having a hard time doing my blog posts lately, have you noticed? Now that I'm working so much, it's hard to find the time and the material. I may be doing them less frequently now. I have been considering quitting the blog all together. Would anyone miss it if I did?

When I had to move from my RV park in Morro Bay, I managed to nab a space at El Chorro Regional Park in San Luis Obispo, where it is first come, first served. This was actually a pretty decent place to stay. I prefer this type of campground over the typical RV park, although the time limit was 15 days and it was a somewhat pricey daily rate. But that central coast area is pretty pricey just about anywhere.

The campsites have trees and some space between them so they feel somewhat secluded. There is a botanical garden, a couple of ball fields, two off-leash dog areas, and hiking trails. It is also right next to a golf course.

El Chorro Botanical Garden

Large Dog Off-Leash Area

I'm in Portland now, so I'll fill you in on that next.

Rylie's Notes:

Where are the cows?