Sunday, September 19, 2010

Three days after

So three days ago Carolyn, Ian and I woke up at about 7:30 in the morning to a torrential downpour. It becomes apparent that the tent that we are camping in is not as water resistant as it is suppose to be. Lightning is blasting, rain is dropping and the thunder is ROARING.

I for one am digging it, other than the dripping that is coming down on us that is, but Ian is not going for it. He says that he REALLY thinks that we should leave so reluctantly I oblige with the encouragement from my wife. Probably something about the rain inside our tent that is driving her.

So we pack most of our stuff and are blessed with a break in the heavy rain so that we can get stuff in the Suburban. The problem is that Carolyn didn't wait for the break and is now completely soaked.

We head into town to our new favorite coffee and ice cream joint Perk's/Whit's in Athens, OH. Carolyn is able to change into dry clothes and we hang out at Whit's for most of the day. Our friends Smiles and Space (and their boys) are somewhere to the northwest of us at a craft fair selling soap and stuff.

We are watching the weather reports, of course, and see that there is a major storm brewing northeast of us. Right around the area where Smiles and Space are. Weather alerts start popping up indicating more lightning and thunder and.........Tornado's. I call Space and let them know because they are in some field somewhere and I am not sure as to their ability to know about the storm. They tell me they are in a downpour as we are speaking. Well the tornado decided not to visit them and they are fine.

The next thing we know is that the storm is coming our way and we realize that our bed and some of our other things are in the tent back at the property and a much bigger storm is coming than this morning. We decide to head back and get all essentials and repack our Suburban to travel/camp ready. On our way out the emergency alarms and notices are blaring that everyone needs to take cover and get inside. So we high tail it back to the camp.

All this time I am watching the storm come in, trying to predict the direction to see if it will hit us or miss and time it. We time it right and get loaded and prepared just in time to get in the Sub to leave and watch the sky go dark. In the time that it took me to drive from our camp site to the end of the driveway (about 200 yards) it went from slightly overcast to dark, no sun out better start prayin'! ... gloomy overcast. In all my years ( I realize 41 is not real old) I have never seen the sky close that fast.

I see the wall, yes wall, of rain coming at us as I am about to get on the road and I remember that I forgot to make sure that the roof box is closed. As quickly as my short little legs can scurry I run around to check the box so that it doesn't get blown open and soak all of our stuff that is up there and get back into the sub just a little too late. I am soaked, and I mean like I jumped into a pond soaked. I couldn't have been out there more than 10 seconds and I wasn't dry anywhere except on the inside. We drive back into town because if there is a problem I want to be near help.

We hang out at the coffee shop with the wonderful people (and a basement) there and some nervous college students and enjoy the evening unscathed. Though as we are sitting we can see that the local internet is indicating that where we are sitting there is a tornado that has landed. It missed us but did come down about 3 miles away. It flipped a few mobile homes and destroyed the local highschool bleachers along with some other buildings and many houses. Unfortunately there were also injuries and at least one death. We understand that it is a rarity to have tornadoes in this part of the country, or at least in this part of Ohio. Sorry no pics this time. We were a bit busy to pull the camera out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thunder Mountain Nevada

When I was a kid I drove across the country with my mom sister and grandfather. I remember stopping at a strange artistic place that had burned itself into my memory. When I realize that we are going to go by there I go on a frantic search to find this mysterious place that I don't remember what it is called or where it is other than it is on I-80 somewhere in Nevada.
In my search I hear about Thunder mountain. I drive past the place and have to turn around and come back. I found it.
A lot has changed since I was there last (30 years earlier), but the ghosts and spirit is still there.
There is more info on the place than I will put in this blog but please go to to see more and t read the history of the place. It was built buy Frank Van Zant. The monument was built almost entirely of junk that was found within 50 miles of the monument. I felt that it was very fitting that a lot of the pictures has "Bailey" the hat in it. Bailey is a old warn out hat that was about to go to the garbage but decided to go on this trip about the country with us.

For now just some pics.

Out of Nevada?

So we get to West Wendover Nv. and stop to get gas. As I walk into the station it suddenly gets dark and the doors are locked. I start looking around expecting some crazily dressed people to emerge and start chanting, thinking that I am about to be kidnapped and sacrificed is some bizarre ritual when I realize that the power just went out.
So we wait for a while and then decide that we will just park in the back with the trucks and crash for the night because we don't have the gas to get across the Salt Flats.
All is well in the morning other than a dead battery so we get jumped fill up and head out across the flats.
Eighty seven hours later (ok,ok, just a couple hours) we pull into Salt Lake City. Capitol #2.After a short stop there we head east and stop in Park City Utah for lunch. A nice visit with some people there who probably think we are out of our gourds and we are on our way again.

This is the part of the trip that I am not particularly fond of. We are trying to make time so that we can get to AJ's in Texas by a specific date so we blast by some really cool things. Such is life. We do try as well as we can though to enjoy and still do.

We make it into Wyoming.

And stay in Rawlins Wy. at a nice campground that has a mini golf (sort of) course. Nice place, I believe it is Western hills.

In the morning we head out again. Next stop Cheyenne Wy for capitol #3.

Across Nevada

Ok, so if you follow the Bailey Hat blog you know that I am a slacker with a capitol SLACK on the blog end. We are far from heading out and are now in Ohio a little more than a month later.

Where were we last? Lets see...Oh yeh we left.

Well we headed South from Humboldt co. and decided that we needed to stop in the Sacramento area to get a new (to us) ride. That really cool Van just was not going to make it. It's tranny was only shifting in two of the four gears and the AC was out. Traveling across the plains and desert in the middle of summer without AC is not my wife's idea of a good time.

Carolyn had done some searching and found three prospects for a cross country transport. The first one payed off.
It doesn't have as much room but it gets a good 50% better fuel efficiency and the AC and windows all work. On top of that Carolyn has been bugging me about getting a Subbyurban for years.

We enjoyed a visit in Sac. area and went to Carolyns **yr. aniversary. (if you don't know then we aint telling.) Had a great time visiting Jeff and Meridith, and Toni Baloney and family.
When we originally planned we decided that we were going to try to stop at as many Capitols as possible. So we Started in California.

From there we went up to G-ma and G-pa's place to prep the new vehicle and head east.
Made a stop in Reno to visit some old friends and realized when we got there it was Hot August nights. How in the world did I not remember that?
At one point we heard a squeek noise from under the Subbyurban and realizing that there wasn't a mouse under us as we were driving I thought that we better check it out.

A new set of U-joints and rear tranny seal later we are ready to go.
I have never seen dust in one of these before.

We say goodbye to our friends Ken, Debbie, Amber, Alisha and family, Steve (who squeezed us in for the U-joints),Billy and Kim, Sandy, Alex and Ashley. For any I forgot you can yell at me later. For those who we missed, maybe we will see you on the flip side homeslice.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Making like a baby and Headin' out.

Carolyn has been telling me that I need to start blogging more. I told her that I started this blog, wasn't that enough? Well I guess it wasn't. So what a better time than now.
It is Thurs morning 7:35 and we are running about an hour and a half late for our planned departure, right on time. We will be going on a "vacation" to Texas. I need to get there to start my residency to transfer to Texas A&M University. There will be more posts now that we are doing actually going somewhere.

The other day I saw an old bleached out "No Fear" bumper sticker that said "
Fear is what keeps you from your potential, your suffering is self imposed." I do believe that it is something that fits for me. I have been anxious about this whole trip and move thing since we decided to do it. BIG step, many unknowns, so many reasons why not to go, then we thought "but there are so many reasons TO go." Why am I imposing all this suffering on myself and my family? It's time to have an adventure.

Cast off those lines and go face that storm, it may just be a little fog or it might be a hurricane, either way it will be a GREAT RIDE.

Until next time.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A New Chapter begins...

As many of you may already know, we have decided to leave Humboldt. It has been a great three and a half years here. It has been a hard decision to decide to move on at this point. However,we did "pro's and cons" lists and the direction became clear. We're heading to Texas, on or about August 1st.

At or about that time we also plan to start another blog, so we'll keep you posted how that goes as well. Much going on... purging... packing... taking care of the details for Rich to transfer ... contemplation and planning for a web-based biz (more details soon...)

Also we have an appointment to get our computer worked on before we leave Humboldt so perhaps we'll be able to load pictures again... sadly, our computer has been rather temperamental in that area for awhile now.

Hope this note finds you and yours doing well... we'll post more soon... Yes, I really will... I know the posts here have been spotty at best, but as the title here says "A New Chapter begins..." and with it comes more postings! Yes!! Such excitement, so many new places to visit and things to do on the horizon! Fun! Fun!! I'm ready!!!

Smiles & blessings...


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Update from Humboldt

(Another post saved on the computer - January 10, 2010)

Update from Humboldt
The new semester begins, for Rich, at Humboldt State University (HSU) on January 19, 2010, marking three years since we first came to Humboldt. It has been an interesting journey.
Though his initial thought was to pursue a Bachelor’s in Oceanography, he has since figured out that another program will better suit his desire to work in the ocean, rather than just about it. His planned degree is in Natural Resources Planning and Interpretation (NRPI) with a minor in Scientific Diving.
The Diving program here at HSU is highly regarded, and Rich has enjoyed the experience of participating in the classes very much. He has even been diving at Catalina Island (a University of Southern California facility) twice over the past three semesters of HSU Diving classes.
Though his requirements for his minor are fulfilled, this semester Rich plans to complete a Rescue Diving Course and Underwater Photography. These two courses will be very valuable in his future pursuits as a Scientific Diver.
Although we have had great challenges finding long term parking for our RV, since being here – it seems that few places are willing to accommodate rigs over 10 years old – most recently we have been blessed finding a “home” in the foothills about ten miles from the University; and it is beautiful!
We are in an area called Freshwater, renting a space from a very nice couple. The property includes an adjacent building that houses a laundry room, carport and what was previously a workshop. Since we’ve been here, with the help of others, we’ve been working on converting it to a “playroom” (think family room) – It’s coming along great!
Living here in the forest, but yet only about five miles from the Bay as a crow flies, it is truly breathtaking. Waking up every morning to incredible beauty; it’s like that feeling waking up when you’re camping. We have yet to build an outdoor fire pit, but it’s in the plan.
At this point we anticipate being here in Humboldt until sometime in 2011… but, more to be revealed. Thankfully, it seems, we’ll be able to stay in this place until Rich completes school. Only wish we could have found it sooner.
This past Christmas was spent in Oroville visiting Rich’s folks, and our son AJ and his family. We had only planned to be there for a couple of days, but God had other plans… The night before we were to leave we received a call from a friend offering us a van that she no longer needed. The only catch, it was in Reno, Nevada.
Interestingly enough, though, since we were in Oroville that made the drive to Reno only about three hours, one way, whereas if we would have been in Humboldt it would have meant at least seven hours, each way. So, we likely might have passed it up.
The weather was dicey so Rich watched for a “hole” to hopefully be able to get to Reno and back without having to chain-up. He managed to get up there, get the van then got back as far as Cisco Grove (just on the west side of Donner Summit) before it became evident that the alternator was not working.
With no resources for auto supply stores he found a safe place to park the van for the night and proceeded to ride back to his parents with his nephew who had accompanied him on the trip, and was now driving the car they went up in.
He got back to Oroville and figured out that the alternator on the car that his sister had had totaled in an accident (a couple of days before Christmas) might actually be able to work on the van. So he removed the alternator, charged the battery from her car, and the battery from our Land Cruiser (that is parked for a new engine) in order to take them with him --- just in case.
The following day he left, again with his nephew (and Ian), to go up to get the van. He arrived at the parking lot where he left it, to learn that it was a popular sledding spot… which thrilled Ian but made getting in and then out, after the van was running, just a bit challenging, to say the least.
Amazingly Rich made it back with “Betty Boop” (as she has been affectionately named) with just enough battery to get to the driveway, and then coast in. LOL! Rich spent the following day taking care of mechanical issues and Ian and I tried to help with the cleaning, as the van had been sitting for about a year.
That night we took it on a drive to visit AJ and family and she’s been running great ever since. In the next week or two she’ll get a tune up and she’ll be running great. Did I mention that Betty is an Econoline Conversion van? They are the ones with the raised roof, nice captain’s seats and all the things that make it nice for traveling.
Yesterday, Rich made it official: Betty is a Diver Transport Vehicle she got a California Diver sticker on the back window. Rich is really jazzed because there will be no more tent camping on the ground for his dives; Betty has a bed in the back that sets out with the touch of a button! Yee haw!! (I told him that he should have named her "Mona…" or perhaps that’s "Moana?" … just reflecting back to the van craze of the 70’s! LOL! Too fun!!)
Next weekend we’ll travel back over to Oroville to see family and put new tires on Moana, er I mean Betty! (LOL!) Also we’ll be there to give our love and hugs to AJ and family before they leave for their move to Texas.
They are very excited about this move. It is something that AJ has wanted for a long time. It has finally all come together; he and his wife have secured jobs near Dallas that will start the first week of February.
We are very excited for them, but will miss them much. It has been hard enough to see them on any regular basis just being seven hours away by car; now we’ll be at least that far away by plane. Oh, well… We’ll save our pennies and you know where we’ll be spending next Christmas. ;-)
We will return to Humboldt in time for Rich to start school on Tuesday the 19th. It’ll be a full weekend for sure, but worth it. (Then I suspect we won’t be back to Oroville for a visit until at least Spring Break in March.)
Other than delineating the blessings we have had over the past few months, I think this is a pretty good summation of the latest with us. I will do my best to be more frequent at posts this year. I look forward to keeping in touch.
Until next time…

If the RV's a Rockin'! ... It must be an Earthquake!! LOL!!

(one of the blog posts I previously wrote and saved to our computer)

Earthquake: 9 January 2010

What a way to start the New Year! Our blogging is so overdue… apologies! … So after the excitement of today’s 6.5 shaker here in Humboldt County, on the beautiful north coast of California, it seemed an appropriate time to get back in touch.

I will start with a confession: When the quake hit this afternoon, it was met at our house with much laughter. Yes, I said laughter. I feel a little guilty about this as I hear people recall how scared they were when it hit, and friends and family checking in to make sure we’re ok. Then I think back to 4:27pm… me, laughing heartily while the quake was just a rollin’!!

Perhaps I should explain? There really is a good reason. Just minutes before the quake I had gotten up to get a cup of tea and was teasing Ian about being an ornery ten year old! LOL! I told him that I was going to “get him”!

Down the hall to the living room and he went to the couch where I proceeded to tickle him and attempt to kiss him, while telling him that I loved him, and him all the while trying to block my kisses with a book. We were having a great time.

I didn’t pay much mind to the fact that after a minute or two of this both of our dogs came into the living room from the bedroom. All the while Rich was in our room sitting on our bed doing some school work on the computer.

When the shaker started it just seemed like it was just our 'horse play' that was moving our house (as most of you know we live in a motorhome…) It was soon evident that no amount of horse play could move our rig THAT much!!

Rich hollered “What are you two doing???!!” (Apparently he thought Ian was hanging from a shelf and swinging or something.) It was at about that same moment that I realized that we were having an earthquake. So I just hollered back to him “hang on Baby, we’re havin’ a shaker!”

I just couldn’t help but laugh, it all seemed so funny; and the timing so ironic. Being in a motorhome you’re on shocks, and we were a rockin’ and a rollin’! Rich said it felt like somebody, a REALLY BIG somebody (perhaps Paul Bunyan???) was outside shaking the RV. Ian said it was more like King Kong… Rich said no, it was Paul and Blue (his ox) right outside our door doing jumping jacks. LOL!!

The poor dogs, didn’t know what to do. The little one (Spike, our Pug) was sitting on the couch trembling and the big one (Sassy, our Boxer) was lying on the floor completely flat, as if glued there, and extremely quiet. Perhaps she was just praying for it to be over??

Shortly after the shaking subsided Rich and Ian hopped in the van and headed up the hill to check on our neighbors, a couple in their 70’s, to see how they fared. As it turned out the wife was home alone and quite shaken.

They had a fair amount of breakage to clean up, but overall did ok. Rich and Ian stayed there for an hour or so helping with cleanup and during that time the husband arrived home and their son and daughter also came over to help.

In their absence I decided to try to find a local radio station to listen to the updates. This proved to be a bit challenging as it seemed many stations were off the air, at least initially.

I did finally find a station in Ferndale, just south of us – nearer the epicenter than we were, and sustained more damage than I was aware of in our immediate area (I have since learned that Eureka got hit pretty hard, with utility disruption up to three days in some areas) – and enjoyed listening to the updates accompanied by songs to do with “shaking” … I didn’t realize there were so many with that theme.

The humor in the DJ's song selection reminded me of a Mary Chapin Carpenter song ("Down at the Twist and Shout") that cites having hurricane parties! Oh my!! (Only in Louisiana! LOL! Guess that's why so much of my family LOVES it there!! tee hee hee...)

I know that a good portion of the north county here was without power for many hours and lots of mess was attributed to our first quake of 2010, but truly we were blessed! I heard it on the radio and read it on many Facebook posts, and I concur, “we are so blessed, it could have been so much worse.” Amen!

Until next time…

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Internet Sweet Internet... Blog Sweet Blog...

Oh my gosh!! It's horrible how long it has been since I've posted. I've actually written a few blogs on our computer to 'be uploaded later' but alas.... later never seems to get here! LOL! Perhaps that day has FINALLY arrived!!

As of last night we have internet at our "house"!! Woo Hoo!! I am so excited! I have felt so out of touch. I truly will post (later today) the blogs that I have written over the past few months; just for fun!! I am more excited, however to post in the future. I am still getting the hang of the "blogging thing" and posting pics, etc. but it truly is fun.

Who would have thought that 20 years after first learning how to use a computer, usually with my nose stuck in a book and trying to follow every direction and suggestion... that I would be enjoying my computer time. I remember in those days you installed programs using DOS... then went to Windows... and all the terminology -- Aaghhh...! Well, the terminology still doesn't always make sense, but with the help of my wonderful 'sorta techno geek' hubby, I muddle through... and where the Blogging is concerned it is typically with joy as I feel closer to my friends when I am writing.

Over the next month we'll be planning a short 'vacation' of sorts, while Rich is on Spring break from HSU. So I look forward to not only sharing some of the considerations as to where to go, but maybe getting some input from you all. Then after we return we will be working on our summer plans.

Summer should prove to be interesting. Rich is applying for diving internships and jobs, so who knows where we may 'summer' ... LOL! But additionally we have several graduations just around the corner; yes three all within a week of one another in two different states... thankfully the states are CA and NV and the drive is only about 4 hours or so in between... we'll get that figured out!

Some of you know that our oldest son, AJ, and his family moved to Texas last month. That was bittersweet. I know in my heart how very long AJ has wanted to move to Texas, additionally living in CA with the economy the way it is and the taxes here were just killing them financially. Although it is now about six plus hours by plane, opposed to six or so hours by car, to visit them I am truly happy for their move. (Trust me I'm looking forward to the 'road trip' to TX! Yee Haw!)

This summer, June 4th to be exact, (in the midst of the various graduations) we will celebrate the addition of two more into our family "officially" -- everything will be finalized for AJ's adoption of his 'big kids' Claire and David. We are so excited!! We are especially excited because they will be coming back to CA for a few days to finish the 'court stuff'. (And you know we'll have to do something special!!)

So as you can see our summer calendar is already filling up fast. Hopefully it will work out for our grandkids (at least Claire and David, "Jack Jack" is still a bit young to be away from home for too long...) to spend some of their summer break with us. The details are still to be figured out, but you know I'll share my excitement as we go... At the very least... we will plan to head to Texas for Christmas this year ... and so it goes... 2010 is going to be busy!! Yay!! I am SO excited!! ;-)

I guess that's enough of a start to get back into the swing of my blogging. I will add the other blogs later (just for fun...) and I will add some pics. Ian's b'day is coming up on the 20th so you know you'll be hearing more about that and seeing pics in a couple of weeks.

((Hugs)) Smiles & Blessings... Until next time...

PS. Yes, hubby is really turning into a "Techno Geek" ... but we'll save that for another blog post (that he can write...)