Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

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

Saturday, October 31, 2009



Before I was able to start working in Beaumont, I decided to make the hour and a half journey to check out Galveston. For those of you who haven't been there, Galveston is right on the Gulf of Mexico, not far from Houston. It has a nifty historic district called The Strand, that is filled with shops and restaurants. I had a tasty lunch, browsed through some of the shops, and checked out the art fair that was going on in the streets. Then I took a drive over to the Gulf to check that out.

Although I have been told that there was a lot of hurricane damage in Galveston, I only saw a small amount of it. Maybe I wasn't in the right part of town, or maybe they have already repaired a lot of the damage. At any rate, I really liked Galveston, and could spend more time there.

Gulf of Mexico

My latest stop was New Orleans, where I came to meet friends for Halloween. Can you think of a better place to be for Halloween than New Orleans??? Stay tuned, I got some great photos.

Rylie's Notes:

Hey! Why didn't I get to go to the beach? I love the beach. There are tons of stinky things to roll around in on the beach. Once I even found a seal flipper to roll on, and boy was it ripe. The Staff was REALLY mad at me for that one.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Up, Up and Away

Beaumont from the Air

Usually when I get to an area to do my Air Photo work, the photographer, pilot, and helicopter are long gone. But because of some weather and other delays, they didn't start shooting until after I got to Beaumont. One good thing that came out of it was that I got to meet Michael and Bill, one of the photographer and pilot teams, and I also got to go for a helicopter ride.

As you will see from the photo below, the helicopter is really tiny. It barely fits two people. These guys spend all day in this small space together, so I sure hope they like each other. We flew with my door off, which was cool. You really feel like you're flying that way. That's the closest I've felt to being Superman. Bill idled the engine, so we were falling at 1,500 feet per minute. It was fun!

Michael and Bill

Beaumont is pretty flat, and the airport is not exactly SFO. You can see how small it is below.

Rylie's Notes:

All I want to know is, did they serve a meal during the flight?

Monday, October 19, 2009


I have some time off while I'm waiting for the photographer to shoot the Beaumont area, so I've been doing a little exploring, and I have also been catching up on some things around home. I hung some prints that I've been carrying around for awhile, and below is one of my favorites that my Mom gave to me. You'll have to double click on the image to read it.

Rylie's Notes:

That's not art. The photo of the structure below, now that's a work of art! Beautiful, and functional.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Playing in the Mud

I arrived in Beaumont, Texas after a short journey from Baton Rouge, and got settled into my campsite smack dab in the middle of a big mud puddle. They have been getting a bunch of rain here lately, and it was very hot and humid when I arrived. Still, I was happy to be out of the snow and cold of Iowa. I'm not complaining!

Rylie and I couldn't get into the motorhome without walking through mud, and there was about two inches of standing water on the grass. I moved the motorhome slightly the next day so that the door was in front of a smaller mud puddle, and parked my car in a different spot so that I could avoid walking through the worst of the mud. It was getting pretty dirty inside, despite my best efforts to keep my feet and Rylie's feet clean.

After I got us settled into our new spot, I located a place to buy Rylie's dog food. I feed him a brand, Chicken Soup, that is hard to find, plus it's the lite formula, so that makes it even more difficult to find. His food was almost gone, so I figured I better get some soon, and drove to a feed store, who said they had one bag. The next day I went to Petco, and got him stocked up on deposit bags and treats. Man that dog is spoiled! I can't believe the trouble and expense I go to for that little bugger. How did he manage to get me so wrapped around his finger? I know what it is. It's that happy little face and wagging tail, every time I come home. It doesn't matter if I've been gone five minutes or all day, he is always so happy to see me. Every morning he greets me with kisses, and an unfettered exuberance for the day. You can't help but be happy around that little bugger.

During our morning walks, Rylie has taken to running through the mud puddles. I can't blame him. He is probably trying to cool off.

Rylie's Notes:

I'm not trying to cool off. It's the only way I can get a good foot massage with the towel when we get back home.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So Long, Iowa!

Sometimes this nomadic lifestyle feels a bit like time travel. I went from winter to summer in two days. I left Iowa on Sunday after my day of snow on Saturday and a frozen water hose Sunday morning. I left the faucet dripping as recommended to avoid this, but it froze anyway. I must say that I'm happy to put that cold weather behind me. Iowa did have some positive aspects: the people were very nice and friendly, and I got the best haircut I've had in a very long time. There was also a pretty good dance scene there, from what I could tell. But I was happy to move on.

I planned to stop my first night in St. Louis for one reason: Trader Joe's. I love Trader Joe's, and I knew that I would not be near one for months, so I planned to stop there and stock up. For those of you that have never been to one, Trader Joe's is a grocery store that sells interesting, healthy, yet flavorful items, and their prices are pretty good. So I drove through a bit of St. Louis, which looks like a pretty neat city, from what I saw. I went through one area that has the old style brick buildings with interesting shops and restaurants, and another area with all of the newer shops and stores, so it looks like they have just about everything covered.

I was feeling pretty pleased when I saw that the PetsMart was right next door to the Trader Joe's, since I also needed to stock up for Rylie. Unfortunately, I forgot that it was Sunday, and they were closed when I got out of Trader Joe's. I guess I'll have to find one in Beaumont.

When I left St. Louis I drove through the green, soggy state of Mississippi. I was planning to camp at a state park in Grenada, but when I drove all the way back that long, winding road, I discovered that the campsites were not great and there was no one around. I don't like camping in deserted, remote areas by myself, so I had to go find another place to stay. I didn't think I was going to be able to get my rig out of there without unhooking and re-hooking the car, but I cheated and did that thing you are never supposed to do when you are towing four wheels down: I backed up. Just a little bit, enough to get past the tree. Nothing blew up, so I guess it was okay. It was getting dark soon and I needed to find another place to stay, so I cut some corners. I had to backtrack up the highway a little bit, but I found a place to stay. They had just gotten a bunch of rain, so the campground was pretty puddle-filled and muddy, but it worked.

From there I drove through Louisiana to Baton Rouge. It is extremely warm and humid here, and I had to put on shorts and use the air conditioner. I had to remove all of the extra blankets and comforters from the bed, and stow away my winter coat and insulated vent covers. Talk about climate change!

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff has her priorities out of order. She should have gone straight to PetsMart and THEN gone to Trader Joe's. I'm starting to get a little antsy. We haven't had a decent walk for days.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Birds and Snow

This morning I was working, and it was cold! I knew that they were forecasting highs today only in the low 40's, and there was frost on the ground when I walked Rylie this morning. But as I was driving between homes, I noticed that there were raindrops starting to come sideways into the windshield. Then it dawned on me, that wasn't rain, that was snow! Then the snowflakes got ginormous and really started tumbling down.

I stopped to take a picture of the snow, and I noticed a HUGE flock of birds swirling back and forth. Maybe that's how birds make snow angels. It was fun watching them swarming around. If you double click on the photo, you get a better look at the snow and birds.

I really would have preferred not to be working in the snow and the cold, but I was trying to finish up my work so that I can get the heck out of Dodge tomorrow. The weather has really taken a nasty turn, and since I'm highly allergic to the cold, I need to head south.

I had another fun night of swing dancing this week. This time it was even more fun than last week because I did some real dancing after the class.

I have noticed a few things about the Davenport area. First of all, almost every farm -- and I have visited many of them -- seems to have many, many cats. Yesterday I counted 22 at one farm. I guess they don't believe in spaying and neutering cats here. Tonight I went to knock on someone's door to show them their photo, but first I had to get past the cat. It was parked in front of the steps chewing on the headless body of a rabbit. Yucko.

Another thing I noticed is that the smell of manure is everywhere I go, even at the RV park. That's because there are corn and bean fields everywhere. I'm looking forward to some fresh, odorless air.

I go to a lot of convenience stores while I'm working, to use the restroom and sometimes get beverages or a snack. It seems like most everyone else is there to buy 12-packs of Bud Light. I guess after a hard day of farming, you need a Bud Light -- or twelve -- to unwind. Or maybe they need that it forget about the weather. Man it's cold here!

Rylie's Notes:

Hmmm, 22 cats? I think The Staff should bring me to work with her. I could keep those cats busy while she's knocking on doors.

Monday, October 05, 2009


Sometimes Rylie has some good ideas. Like when we were walking in Minnesota and he refused to budge, because there was a bear nearby. This morning we were starting our morning walk and once again he refused to budge. This time it seemed there was a shitzu walking nearby that he wanted to meet. We went over to say hello, and I discovered that Daisy's owner lives in the town in Florida where I will be working this winter. They were just about to hit the road. In fact, Jan's husband drove up in the motorhome to pick them up and hit the highway. Jan seemed very nice and offered to show me around town when I get to Florida. It's always nice to have a friendly face with knowledge of the area when I get to a new place.

Rylie's Notes:

SOMETIMES I have good ideas?! I ALWAYS have good ideas. The Staff just doesn't listen to me like she should.