That Long I-5 Drive

Not much to say about the I-5 corridor between SoCal and Washington. I guess if you haven't done it over and over it may seem interesting but to those of us who've done it too many times - ughh! I really shouldn't complain though, to be honest.

I was in a great rig for driving that long haul. My uncle had a 12 passenger aka 1 ton Chevy van that I brought home so I didn't have to rent something, so I could bring whatever I wanted home and so I could take more time to sell it and get a little more money than if we'd sold it in a hurry down in California. It has a lot of power and is tall and imposing. I drove aggressively, moreso than normal. Maybe the power of the big van got to me. I was on a mission. I got in the fast lane and pulled right up on the butt of anyone in my way. Everyone moved over for that big vehicle, less about 2 cars the whole trip. It did get only about 15 MPG though.

I drove through to 8 PM when I hit Redding and was getting weary again. I knew I had mountain roads ahead and then Oregon with the worst I-5 roads on the trip. So I stopped and settled into the Super 8 motel.

It had everything I needed without even having to ask. It only lacked in the area of their continental breakfast. It was the slimmest of all the breakfasts I've enjoyed this month on my trip with Rick, just donuts, cereal and things you toast. But I ate what I needed and hit the road.

Not really anything to report about the drive. One accident at I-5 and highway 14 to the Mojave Desert, a little fog just over the grapevine and the usual grey and drizzle once I got halfway through Oregon. There was a little traffic nearing Portland. But nothing to really compain about. Overall an easy (boring) drive.

I was sure glad to get home but knowing that my kids would expect stuff from me immediately I warned them that I would spend my first night home at Rick's, it's my sanctuary, my hiding place from the kids. He had his mannequin "Mona" holding a "Welcome home, Suzie" sign, the goof.
It was great to just veg, have someone feed me and just sleep as long as I wanted on a real bed.

Mmmm. Zzzz.

Wrapping Up the Estate

Most of you reading this know the ending, how the estate was finally settled. But for documentation sake I'm going to blog it anyway.

At the end of my last blog I was talking about the money we were making at our garage sales and how we were going to use the money to have the outside of the house painted. Well, apparently we had not yet discovered that mom's laptop and digital camera had been stolen on Friday of our last sale weekend. Then Monday when mom went to deposit the sale money at the bank she discovered that all the large bills (as well as the rolls of quarters and dimes) had been stolen late Sunday. Approximately $1500 in cash was gone. Fortunately we didn't sell the appliances at the sale and so still had a little money from the sale of those after the sale, as well as the ones, nickels and pennies. I think they came to about $400.

After having worked our butts off sorting, cleaning and selling, to have that much loss was very discouraging. We felt like we were getting nowhere and we were killing ourselves to get there. So we decided to revisit an offer made by one of our garage sale customers - an offer $85,000 less than the appraised value. But considering that we wouldn't have to finish painting, cleaning up and repairing the house, we wouldn't have to pay to refinance the house ($10,000) and we wouldn't have to pay realtor fees (he's a licensed realtor) we decided unanimously to cut our losses and let him make that deal. He is getting a great deal and we're all done, we can all go home and just wait for escrow to close in early January.

So I left the painting supplies sitting around, mom and I both packed up all we could take and we took off Thursday, Thanksgiving day. I left at 11:30 in Uncle Eugene's van packed to the gills and mom hit the airways at 4:40.

The day we made the decision to sell was amusing. Kathy and Pearce showed up to have a powwow and replace the broken dining room window. They came in and Pearce just exploded - not in anger, just in his thoughts on the subject. It was comical. But he had his say and went outside to spray windows and wait to help the trash man empty our 9 overflowing trash cans. He even set up a camping chair on the sidewalk to wait. In the meantime mom, Kathy and I all talked about the pros and cons of selling to "Ron" or renting, refinancing and selling later next year. We all came to the same conclusion to quit pouring money, time and energy into the place and let it go. Then we had Pearce come in and we called dad to let him know our decision. It felt so good when his only reply was a concession to our wishes. We met with Ron and got escrow going that very night. Then out for a celebratory dinner at Chili's.

This was a close to a big chapter in all our lives. It was Kathy's and my home away from home while we lived in Lakewood. And it was always our landing place when coming to Southern California for all the years to follow. It was always Granny's house, even though she died in '94 and was difficult to say goodbye. But it'll be someone else's house to make memories in now. I hope they have as many good memories as we've had.

A HUGE Job!!

One of the first things I had to do when we got here was go to the bathroom. Interesting, huh? Well, while I was on the throne I started looking around, trying to determine what had been done in that room. I had no idea how the huge job was going to take place.

The house was so packed with junk, boxes everywhere. The boxes were filled half with stuff and half with garbage. Every drawer, closet and those boxes was full of something and had to be sorted. So we just opened something and started. If there was a set of something it was spread all over, part here and part there. Everything had a chip or broken leg. Everything was filthy. There were shelves on the walls everywhere covered with dirty, chipped teenager-style knick knacks. I found the missing handle to the antique dresser drawer in a box in the garage.

Uncle Eugene was an artist and his favorite subject was nudes. Apparently he started doing nudes early in life, probably right after his teens and continued up to his death. Everywhere you turned there were more nudes. So we had to get them all together. We also gathered up the other artwork so we could all look through it and pick out what we liked.

We sorted and finally started having a garage sale 2 days after I got here. We had the sale every day for the first week and averaged about $300 a day, not bad. I advertised on Craigslist and Friday we had a $1000 day, Saturday was about $600. Our sales are going well. We need to make this money because we need to have the house painted inside and out. I can do the inside but I'm not touching the outside - it's black with hot pink trim. It also needs a window replaced and a couple thresholds repaired/replaced. The dumpsters we've been filling cost $100 a piece. The gardener costs nearly $100 a month. There's trash, water, power, and cable to pay for. But tomorrow is our last sale day, thank goodness, we need to get the house painted and get rid of this junk that's left.

I've been removing shelving and nails from the walls and filling holes. There were 2 walls of wallpaper that had to be stripped. Then the carpet will be pulled up. Dad took care of lots of trash before mom came out. The gardener took down the avacado tree that was attracting rats. My brother in law, Pearce, and Rick did a bunch of tree trimming. Pearce also plans to replace the broken, rotted window in the dining room.

So - the work continues. Mom will be leaving Thursday and I hope to leave Saturday or Sunday, as soon as the painting and carpet are done.

As much as I hate to see the old place go, it's been in the family since '65, it'll be great to be done and I can go back home to my soft life. I'm sore.

So much for the Fun

Well, I guess I'll start by finishing up our trip.

We spent the next day traveling the highway touted one of the best in Utah, highway 12 through Escalante and Bryce Canyon. Well, we enjoyed the previous day's highway much better. Highway 12 was pretty but I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It was too much like home, I guess. There were the pretty pines and some stark white naked trees that looked fantastic in front of the vivid blue sky. But mile after mile of that gets boring.

We did get to Bryce Canyon while there was still snow. I never have seen Bryce Canyon but I've seen plenty of pictures and always hoped that I could see it with snow. Well, It was just as gorgeous as the pictures, even moreso. Rick and I had fun going from spot to spot, goofing around with all the signs announcing the name of the lookout along with the elevation. It was cold and there was lots of ice and snow.

We got our fill of pictures there and hit the road for Vegas. We made it just after dark, took a quick drive down the strip (sorry, I haven't been there for about 30 years) and found a room in the next town down the road, Jean, Nevada. It's a big casino/hotel/restaurant all in one. No town really, just a casino, etc. But the room was only about $35. We hit the bar, had a few drinks, made fun of the singing act and hit the hay.

The next AM we headed for the interstate and made a beeline for Lakewood. We made in there at about noon thirty. My mom, sister and 2nd cousin Edith were all there to greet us.

So much for the fun part of the trip - now the work begins.

Anything but Bland(ing)

When we got up this morning Rick got up and looked out the window. To his "Guess what?" I was gonna guess rain. But NO! His reply was SNOW! It had snowed about an inch overnight. We certainly weren't expecting that. So we started checking out the weather forecast to see how fast we should head outta here. No snow in the forecast, just a slight chance overnight. So we decided not to worry about it.

I was actually excited to be able to see the desert with a dusting of snow. I've always liked the photos with that combo. I think my mom painted a picture like that too.

So we took off and it was amazing, at every turn or just over every ridge was a brand new view. It was fantastic. Unfortunately, with so much to look at and/or photograph we didn't make very good time. I think we did maybe about 200 miles max.

We saw the Natural Bridges Park with 3 natural bridges. Unfortunately, having just spent 2 days seeing dozens of much
more dramatic arches the bridges weren't as exciting as they should have been. But we did hike down to one and got shots from below.

We passed lots of buttes, canyons, the Colorado river, a pretty bridge. There was a "Jacob's Chair," a "Cheesebox Butte," "Dirty Devil," "Factory Butte," "Bear's Ears Pass," "Glen Canyon." But my favorite spot was a little historical town called Fruita. The ancient Indians grew fruit there, then the Mormons. They have old restored buildings, a small river running alongside the rock wall, lots of bright autumn yellow trees,
parks, petroglyphs, lots of fairly tame mule deer. Very colorful, clean and interesting. My best shot I think of the whole trip was one of a pair of horses eating with the sun backlighting them.

We were going to fly down hwy 12, touted "the scenic highway you can't miss" to the town of Escalante tonight but at a photo stop Rick ended up talking to a couple like us and they were adamant that we stay in Torrey, just before hwy 12 to see it in the AM hours. We told them how hard it had been to get just as far as we did today and they said
if we thought that was good we haven't seen anything yet.

So I'd like to get up early, like 6 and hit the road to get the most of the light for the day. It would be nice to go to Crestline by tomorrow night but now it looks like we may spend just one more night out here and leave for CA Friday AM.

I think I may wear out my camera on this trip.

Arches 2

As much as we had just spent most of a day hiking, getting in about 7 miles or more, when we woke up the next morning we were ready for more. We still wanted to see one of the most famous ones, called the Landscape Arch, it's a very long, slightly arching arch. It's actually 100 yards long. But it was in the section of the park furthest from the entry. So we had a long drive.

On the way into the park we spotted a hawk soaring around, no
doubt hunting for some food. We wanted to stop at the visitor's center and check out info on an area called the Fiery Furnace, a place I'd seen on the web but hiking it was a little more involved. I got some great shots of the hawk and then we found out that we could do the Fiery Furnace but it takes about 2 - 3 hours to do and the guided tour starts at 1. We wanted to leave the area before that so we opted out on that idea.

As we headed out we enjoyed reviewing what we'd seen the day before and refrained from stopping too much for more pictures. We finally passed the road that went off to Delicate Arch and were then in fresh territory.

First we came to the Fiery Furnace area and I wanted to just step inside the maze of canyons 10 feet or so, just enough to get a few shots but there was a $150 fine for entering without a permit. So we moved on and came to a spot where we got to see something similar. Inside these little narrow canyons was an arch called "Sand Dune Arch" which was just beautiful but the wind was whistling right through that canyon and blowing sand ferociously! Then we headed out for the next one called "Broken Arch," across the desert in the blowing sand .8 of a mile. We got there and explored as usual then headed out the back side to follow the loop. We had gone quite a while in the blowing sand, walking on sand and were beginning to wonder what was up, this trail was only supposed to be .8 mile long. It was, but not the loop. The loop was more like 2 miles. but it took us through some interesting slot canyons and we thoroughly enjoyed it once we got out of the blowing wind and soft sand.

We finally headed out to the Devil's Garden area to see the Landscape arch. First we stopped for a real short jaunt to the base off the Skyline arch. THEN on to the other stuff. The trail was being very
heavily groomed by lots of young strong people, using rakes, shovels, a soil packing machine and lots of boulders. The arch was interesting but not the best in my opinion. I still preferred the Delicate Arch. We finally felt fulfilled.

We headed back through Moab to go down to the next town near the turnoff to our next highway, Blanding. It was difficult to find a hotel with wifi but we did finally.
It was a bit of a dive but it was packed, no doubt for the wifi. But once unpacked we found that the wifi they offered wasn't set up right and we actually ended up using some neighbor's wifi instead, it was unsecured and we could connect.

Next stop - Hanksville?

The Arches!

No, I didn't say the Archies - Arches! As in Arches National Park.

When I was a kid I went on a couple road trips with my family but we never
made it into Utah. I've seen pictures of the arches and other monoliths and knew I'd enjoy seeing them in person. Well, Rick and his daughter flew through this area last year on a road trip (in very HOT July!) and he knew he wanted to come back. So this was a big part of our plan for this vacation / family meet / help trip.

In my last blog I introduced you to one of my younger half brothers who lives here in Utah but has never made it to the Arches. He really needs to make the effort, it's unbelievable!

I left you as we drove into Moab , Utah, which is 3 miles from the entrance to the Arches Natl Park on Sunday night. So Monday
morning we drove to the park after breakfast. But first we had to stop at a small city park right on the edge of town that is located on 2 sides of the Colorado River with a picturesque bridge connecting them. It was rather still and we got some nice reflection shots. It was beautiful in the sun but rather cold in the shade. Now on to the Arches.

The first pull off and hike area we ran into is called "Park Avenue" because the monoliths that line both sides of the "canyon" resemble the big buildings that line Park Avenue in New York. That trail is 1 mile 1 way and we walked about 3/4 of the way before we returned to the car. They have names for all the towers but I didn't learn all of them.

We headed up the road to the next turnout which was to see the balancing rock. The rock on top is the size of 3 school buses. We walked all the way around it and played with pictures of us holding it in our hands or pushing it.

Right in this same area is an unspecified rock that many tourists have dubbed "Penis Rock" and for obvious reasons. We hiked out to it as well, although this wasn't a marked trail and we really shouldn't have. We were careful to walk only on what they refer to as "slickrock" or in other people's footsteps so as not to do any harm to the area. They have a saying "Don't bust the crust" which is referring to the weird stuff the soil does when left alone, it crusts up and grows lichens and keeps the water flowing correctly.

Next stop - the "Windows", our first arch! Actually 2 arches side by side with nothing to block the view from either direction. Some arches are in front of a wall and so are kinda one-sided, you can only see the sky through them from one side. These had a trail completely encircling them. Right to the south (?) of them was another arch - the "Turrets" arch, with a little brother stuck up above him. We walked right through him and onto a ridge past so we could get lots of interesting shots from both sides.

Right across the street was the "Double arch", 2 arches that shared one side, kinda triangular. It was very photographic. We climbed up inside it too. I started using some of my special lenses and laying on my back, etc, to get unique angles. We also started offering anyone we saw taking a pic of their loved one in front of a landmark the opportunity to let us get them both in the pic. We did that a lot, and a few folks offered the same back to us.

The next hike was the icing on the cake. The famous arch that's on the Utah license plates - the "Delicate Arch." It was a 3 mile round trip hike but pretty strenous with things to see the whole way. We walked on a lot of that slickrock and there was a lot of uphill climbing. When we were nearing the arch I spotted a small arch up about 20 feet and decided to climb up to it. When I got up to it and looked through - there was the Delicate Arch! It looked fantastic. The hike around the last section was like a video game or the Flintstones. The Arch was gorgeous and there were lots of people. We noticed at one point across the canyon on a ridge a couple people. We decided on our way out to try to find the route to that spot. Rick started blazing the trail and we started noticing a few "cairns," the little stacks of rocks used to mark a trail. So we followed them and found the spot. The view of the arch was even better from our new vantage point because the sun was behind us, at the spot where everyone else was the sun was behind the arch and so it didn't light up very well. It was the best hike with the best goal of the whole day. Oh yeah, there was a little authentic 102 year old cabin that had been lived in by a fellow named Wolfe. There were also some petroglyphs, very neat ones.

On our way back to town we had a spectacular sunset that we stopped to photograph and watched it get brighter and brighter while we were stopped, like someone was turning up the dial.

After a dinner at Wendy's we went in the hotel hot tub that was decorated with the arches and stars on the ceiling. A totally awesome day and still more to see tomorrow!

On Vacation

OK we've been on the road for a couple days now and I haven't shared any of it with you. Sorry, been busy! Actually, it's more a matter of exhaustion from all this driving and FUN!

Our trip started about 6:30 Saturday AM. We hit the road and enjoyed listening to tunes on the DVD player that Rick picked up for this trip. It plays just about everything. So we loaded up some CDs and DVDs with our favorite stuff and spent all day driving in the light on and off rain and enjoying just talking and listening to tunes.

We all know what eastern Washington looks like. Oregon was a little more interesting but Idaho was just plain boring. It was dark by the time we hit Utah.

We made it to my brother Mark's house in Lehi, near Provo. He has a nice split level house, a son, Marky 6 and daughter, Rebecca 9 of his own and a stepson, Nathan 15 and stepdaughter, Celeste 13. It was humorous, when we all got inside and sat on the couch he just exploded in conversation. Apparently he's been wanting to know a lot of stuff and share even more for quite a while. At our Grandma's funeral a couple years ago I could see that. His wife, Rachel, got home from work shortly after 11 and joined the conversation. We ended up in the kitchen eating home made appplesauce seasoned like pie filling - yummy, with ice cream. They have 2 cute dogs, a white terrypoo named Holly and a Golden or yellow lab named Sandy.

They had an interesting story about Sandy. Apparently some released convict had chosen their house to break into one night and the dog knew something was going on so she woke up Rachel. She and the dog stepped outside, saw the guy sitting in their vehicle and called the cops. They came out and got the guy. He was going to break into their daughter's room with a rock and rob them, who knows how that may have turned out.

The next morning we got up and for breakfast Mark made some biscuits and they brought out the applesauce again and - yep - the ice cream too, or cool whip. That was breakfast! Funny!

I shared some pictures with them and we hit the road. First things first though. Coffee - they're Mormon so they didn't have any. Then a trip to Cabela's to look for a coat for Rick. Didn't buy one.

So now we hit the road again. More rain, more tunes, more fun. We turned off the highway at one point to explore and had a great time driving down this dirt road, maybe 5 miles. We found lots of stuff to take pictures of. Plants, hills, high power lines, (?) barbed wire and broken glass (??). Then I videoed our exit, Rick ran it up to 60 MPH on that dirt road! We got out a whole lot faster than we went in.

We got into Moab not long before sundown so we found a room and headed out to find dinner. We ended up at the Moab Brewery. Good stuff again.

So far so good, 2 days and no disasters or arguing. Let's see what the rest of the trip holds.

About Me

My photo
After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.