Mount Rushmore and Adam’s Birthday

We got lucky enough to have time to stop at Mount Rushmore on the way from San Francisco to North Dakota.   
 It seems like so far, every time we see a national landmark it’s in inclement weather! When we saw the Grand Canyon it was snowing all blizzard-like, and it was chilly drizzly for Mount Rushmore. But it was still very neat. I’m pretty sure we were the first visitors that morning, we woke up early so we could have time to see it and then get on the road. I sprinkled some of my brother’s ashes there.   

It smelled SO good here to me after all those months in the city!

 

Today would’ve been his 32nd birthday. 

I also spread some ashes at the Salt Flats in Utah.  
 And in wide open Wyoming.  
I think he would like that. Happy Birthday Adam. I miss you so much. 

On more recent things, Charlie and I have been taking walks through Hillsboro. I’m so proud of her for being well-behaved in public! Usually we just take walks in the campground and she occasionally goes to the pet store to get her nails done, but we rarely walk through actual neighborhoods with sidewalks and what not. I felt like a mom taking her baby to a restaurant for the first time. I was so scared she was going to act like a wild banshee! But she acted like a lady and had some manners so I’m very proud! 

Little Charlie all tuckered out

 
Last night’s dinner was DIY shake n bake chicken with roasted carrots and potatoes. Yum!

Here’s the shake n bake concoction I used:

  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs, 
  • 1/2 cup panko, 
  • 1/2 tbs salt, 
  • 1/2 tbs onion powder, 
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika, 
  • 1 tsp sugar, 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, 
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne, 
  • 1/4 tsp basil, 
  • 1/4 tsp oregano, 
  • 1/4 tsp parsley, 
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil. 

Just shake. Then bake! This makes enough to coat more than 4 chicken breasts cut into  smaller pieces. (I did 375 in my convection oven for about 35 minutes for two breasts and they came out juicy and delicious!)

Utah the Beautiful! 

The Bonneville Salt Flats are the first indication you’ve gotten out of Nevada and into Utah. You crest a hill, or mountain, and all of a sudden the landscape looks way different. There’s a bunch of water reflecting the sky and it flattens out a ton. At first it made me think of Louisiana, how it’s AT sea level so you drive through areas that are swampy and wet right next to the highway. Only this isn’t swampy. It’s more like dried salty sand so it’s hard and not squishy. We stopped at the first rest stop and took some pictures.   
 The Bonneville Salt Flats are where the land speed records have been set. From what I read, it’s ten miles long and you can’t see the other end because of the curvature of the earth. It’s really something to see.  
I also read that the whole thing used to be a lake. Lake Bonneville. It was a mostly freshwater lake and it eventually got so high that it all started to drain out, ending with only what is now the Great Salt Lake. The water evaporated and left the little bits of salt behind and now every year lots of salt flows into the Great Salt Lake from the soil and what not. The lake is 12% salinity, much saltier than the ocean and fish can’t live in it. There are brine shrimp that are harvested for fish food and brine flies that are obnoxious to people. Also because of the high salinity, people float really easily.  
After the salt flats and the lake we went through or around Salt Lake City. Once we passed that we came into this huge valley with farms and ranches and a couple towns. It was the most beautiful part of the country I’ve seen yet. I kinda want to trade my Texas ranch idea for a Utah ranch!  
Shortly after that we came upon a “viewing area” and I convinced Allen to stop. We took a couple of pictures and let Charlie out. While we were there the camper and truck got full of those brine flies I mentioned earlier! It was entertainment for Charlie at least! She’s a fly catcher.   
 Have you heard that commercial, “happy cows live in California” or something like that?? Lies I tell you! Happy cows live in Wyoming! This state is just wide open, unincorporated, natural goodness. Wikipedia says it’s the least populated state in the country and the government owns almost half of the land. We kept seeing these weird looking fences along the highway. I always expect Allen to know the answer to all my wonderings, but he told me to google it after about the third time I asked what they could be for. They’re snow fences. They keep the snow from drifting onto the highway. Good to know!  
We stopped in Rock Springs, Wyoming at a KOA for the night. I reheated some gumbo and made some rice while we swatted a ton of brine flies then we hit the sack.  
  
Friday when we got on the road the truck said we had 40% oil life and 40% oil filter life left. Then yesterday the filter all of a sudden dropped to zero and we were getting messages on the dash. So once we get to South Dakota we will have to get it in the shop and checked out. We are aiming for Hermosa, South Dakota today. It’s close to Mount Rushmore so I’m
excited to see that! 

And, Allen made us bacon and eggs for breakfast AND did the dishes! I love him!

Goodbye and Good Riddance!

We wiggled (kinda literally) out of spot #117 at Candlestick RV Park at 8:33AM on Friday morning. (Thanks to Marcus and Brad for their spotting help!)   
   
It took us a half hour to get past Oakland headed east on I-80. Not too shabby… I managed to narrowly avoid a panic attack crossing the Bay Bridge. (That thing just makes me nauseous!) But Allen is a fairly good driver (just kidding, he’s a beast) so when I get too scared I just close my eyes and get all religious and know that everything will be alright! 

my shaky panoramic picture taking skills

 
We are past Sacramento now and haven’t hit much traffic. (Knock on wood…) Our plan right now is to stop at a KOA in Winnemucca, Nevada. We have a while before we need to be in North Dakota so we may as well take our time! 

Happy Friday! 

Quake Hold!

We are just about ready to go! Mentally we’ve been ready for over a month! (Being out here just wears on everyone and we start longing for wide open spaces – cue the Dixie Chicks!)

I should mention here that I had a mini melt down yesterday. I was gathering up everything we need to register the vehicles and get our drivers licenses in South Dakota and I couldn’t find my social security card! I was all worried that Allen was going to have to “move” without me! But, not five minutes after he walked in the door, he found it for me, right where it was supposed to be, somehow I missed it. Thanks babe! (By “move” I mean change our domicile.)

We are putting the bike in the garage this evening (probably until next year!) and strapping everything down (bike, toolbox, file cabinet).  I have all of my sewing stuff put away and the pink flamingo is safely in the cubby! Now we only have little things left…

Our neighbor in Lantana, Florida told me about hurricane putty (or earthquake putty). She used it for little knickknack-y things in their camper when they hit the road. It’s supposed to keep things secure even in an earthquake.

So last week we stopped at Lowe’s and I finally picked some up. It was right around $4. I’ve used it on our pictures we have sitting on the shelves on the island so far. I hope it works! If so then I can leave them out and that’ll be one less thing to put away when we travel.

The frame on the middle shelf holds a drawing I did of the 26′ Wildwood by Forest River we had.

I’m wondering if they make a black or dark brown colored putty. That would look better… I’m also hoping it holds because when we bought the camper we had them Xzilon everything, inside and out. (Inside it’s supposed to protect against stains and what not and it’s almost like a waterproofness on everything-carpet, floor, walls, shelves… Outside it keeps it fresh so we don’t have to wax it for at least 5 years-guaranteed! I think that made it worth it right there!)

One thing I should mention… Traveling with our new fifth wheel vs. traveling in our travel trailer is SUCH a big difference! Everything got jostled around in the travel trailer so that’s what we were expecting when we got this one. I was even worried about the marble sink and stove covers getting broken, wondering if we should tape them down. The first stop we made after traveling the first time with all our stuff in it, we ever so slowly opened the medicine cabinet in the bathroom expecting everything to come flying out like it used to in the old camper. But everything stayed pretty much where we put it! It just seems so calm in comparison. Now, that said, I still wouldn’t trust picture frames with glass to stay put!

Blowing this joint!!!

Goodbye California! Well, we still have 7 days and a wake up! (As my brother would say…) We are getting Charlie out of the parking lot and heading for greener pastures! 4fa5624ca9922c60b5fa80bbf9dc0cc2

The tentative plan a few days ago included leaving here, driving to South Dakota to change our domicile, get a new mailing address, register vehicles, etc. then head on to Dallas for the next job.

But, plans changed as they usually do and the next job is in North Dakota now! So our little stop in South Dakota isn’t really out of the way at all!Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 2.34.05 PM

I’m excited, I’ve never been to the Dakotas and I’ve never been that far north period. I’m hoping for Allen’s sake if nothing else that we don’t get snow while we are there, but it’ll be an adventure nonetheless.

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We have Texas and California now. Allen says we should have New Mexico and Arizona but I say we only count the states that all three of us (Allen, Charlie and I) stay in THIS camper.. And since what I say goes (most of the time-sshhh!) they are not on the map yet!

I love traveling and I get a little hard to deal with (I think) when we sit somewhere for longer than a month or two. I just get antsy and want to get on with it already. And I can’t wait to add to our map!

The tower they are going to be working on was the tallest structure in the world when it was built in 1963. It’s now the 4th tallest structure in the world (after some buildings in Tokyo), THE tallest in the Western Hemisphere and the tallest radio mast in the world. Pretty cool…

 The KVLY-TV mast is in Blanchard, ND (almost exactly halfway between Fargo and Grand Forks). Blanchard has a population of 26. Yep. Small town. And I thought Convent, Louisiana was tiny! (Population 711, right on the Mississippi River)

 The closest RV park is in Hillsboro and that’s a little bigger, population 1,603 in the 2010 census. It’s 1 square mile. There is a family restaurant, a Burger King, a Subway, gas station, grocery store, bakery, and a florist and I think there MAY be 1-3 bars but I can’t really decide if they are still open. From what I gather online, the RV park is also the town laundry mat and a fried chicken place. It should be interesting!

 I’m pretty sure I can walk everywhere in less than 15 minutes (if I don’t let Charlie stop and smell ALL of the roses!)

I know this isnt Charlie and these aren’t roses but I couldn’t resist the adorableness!

I’m super excited to be getting out of the city and out into the country. I get to where I need open spaces after being in a city for too long. I’m excited Charlie will have some grass! And Allen will be glad to get back to real tower work (not just painting and piddling).

Today is full of typical San Francisco fogginess so I’m making my hillbilly chili for dinner and trying out this new recipe for Chili Bread that I found… I’ll let you know if it comes out delicious!

I also made these pillow covers for our friend Brandi back in Kentucky and mailed them to her this week… Her boyfriend went and installed a 50AMP outlet for us so we can stay in their yard during the holidays. Talk about some awesome friends!

 And I made these for us… I’m loving the teal and brown combo…

  
If you would like to see one of many tutorials on the web, this one by me, you can check out this link or this one!

For now I will leave you with some cuteness… Charlie and her parking lot pals… Cheers!

Cisco the friendly husky pup.

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Cisco gets bored and tears things up… For instance, his bed.

Duke and Daisy being lazy

Taking Off for the Weekend!

Tahoe here we come!!!

San Francisco always seems to take its toll on Allen and the guys (and me, for sure).  

 This time around is especially difficult because even though the weather is nicer than it’s ever been while we were here, work is almost at a stand still. There’s some kind of lead paint issue that another company was called in to deal with, which in turn is holding up work on our end. Add this to the already existent fact that the city seems to drag its feet on everything Sutro-related.   

borrowed from Wikipedia

 Not staying really busy makes for long days (and short pay checks). No good for anyone. So I guess they all came to some sort of decision at work that they would take a long weekend. Just for reference, this is pretty much unheard of. When they are busy, they work ten hour days, six and sometimes seven days a week. So that’s what they are used to. So am I for the most part, but I love “weather days” (rain, snow, wind, etc. that make working on a 1,500ft broadcast tower too dangerous).  

“hanging out”…

  

Allen’s view looking down!

  

Taking a break up top

 Anyhow, one guy flew home for a high school reunion and another booked a cruise to Mexico. We were looking at Santa Cruz first, then heard that it’s not as cool as Monterey. So I went motel shopping. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Zip. No rooms available, and the rates for even a Super 8 or a Days Inn were $400/night!!! Yikes! (By the way, we were looking last night, wanting to leave today, that’s just how our last minute lives are lived.) 

getting the heck out of the city

  

the old Bay Bridge

 
So then we almost gave up. But then we looked at Tahoe. We found a room in a casino resort in South Lake Tahoe for less than Monterey, AND we are staying two nights! It’s going to be like a mini-vacay! We haven’t stayed in a motel in way over a decade, let alone a fancy “resort” (ever)! I’m super excited. 

Charlie is going to stay with our neighbors and her buddy Samantha so she will have fun too.  

Charlie and Samantha relaxing

  

They thought i had food

  

Charlie and Samantha’s mom

 I’m also going to bring a little of my brother’s ashes with me. He’s never been to Nevada, so it’ll be a first for both of us. 

Off we go!