Snowy Range – Centennial, WY 8/10/17

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Here are some photos of “downtown” Centennial, Population 270.

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It’s been a week of blustery cool and wet weather…..sometimes just a shower and sometimes off & on all day torrential rains. Almost every time it rains we also get some small hail, and when I went back to Mirror Lake (10,500’), it snowed for a little while! The mending I did on my skylight leaks worked!! But now there are two new leaks, one from the other end of the skylight and one from the vent fan. Ugh! I can’t do much about it until the roof is down.

Night temperatures have been as low as 36, and as high as 45. I actually like the colder temps because the heater is just right with the door window cracked about ½”.  If it’s over 40, then I have to open windows wider and/or the ceiling vent so it doesn’t get too warm.

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I mentioned last time that the neighbors had invited me to a fish fry. Oh my! There were 9 of us there and there had to have been at least 40 Cutthroat and Brook Trout! Everyone had at least 3 or 4, and there were some left over. The neighbors were three couples (one has since gone home), all farmers from Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Big-time farmers…one told me he had over 2,000 acres! I find it hard to picture retired farmers gadding about the county in giant expensive 5th wheels and Class A motor homes. One of them tows the 5th wheel with a huge semi tractor, complete with tanks for fresh and blackwater so they don’t have to move the 5-er to dump or get fresh water…..what a good idea! Plus they tow a Jeep.  The other couple tow their 5th wheel with a big gnarly diesel Dodge Ram flatbed.  The Class A folks towed a small enclosed utility trailer that housed their 3-wheel motorcycle. I guess there must be some good money in farming!  They’ve been very nice to me and invited me for several meals but you know I’m so socially backward, I am not comfortable in big groups. So I mostly stay to myself, but I do feel safer with friendly neighbors here.

Yesterday Roxie and I drove to Saratoga to scope out the campsites on the N. Platte River. We’ll be moving there early next week. It’s a larger town than Centennial, with a real grocery store and laundromat, plus free hot springs and showers 24/7 at the “Hobo Hot Springs”. But just like here, zero Verizon signal, even in the heart of the town! This area must be a black hole for Verizon.  

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Today we have to go back to Laramie to pick up a new porta-potty that I ordered. My Thetford has some awful problem with the latch that holds the two sections together, and it doesn’t look fixable. Suffice to say that when the two sections don’t hold together tightly, ugly things happen. I don’t wanna talk about it.

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Snowy Range 8/1

I’m loving the daytime weather here (low 70’s) but I wouldn’t mind if it was a little bit warmer at night. We’ve had lows of 40 every night. Without heat, the camper stays ten degrees above the outside temp, and 50 degrees is OK but I certainly prefer warmer! Last night I broke down and got out the little Wave 3 heater….love that thing! So it was a nice cozy 65 all night, with windows generously cracked. I’m glad, I got it out,  as it went down to 39 last night!!  Crazy, huh? Hottest part of the summer and it’s that cold at night. I think I was mistaken about the elevation here though; I read that the national forest campground right up the road is at 9200’ so I’m guessing I’m pretty close to that here.

I seem to be still operating under Eastern Daylight Savings Time. I can hardly stay awake past 10:00 and I wake up at 6:00! (midnight and 8 am Eastern). And that’s fine with me; I’m sure my times will get adjust with time. This morning I leapt out of bed at 6:00 (Ok that’s a lie, I did get up but there was no leaping involved) and we were in the car by 6:30, on the road!  I know that the best light for photography is in the early morning and late afternoon, so I thought I’d try this early morning thing. We drove about 20 miles up the Snowy Range Scenic Byway. I intended to go all the way to Saratoga, about 60 miles, but it’s so beautiful I kept stopping to take photos and  by the time we’d gone the 20 miles, two hours had passed. I was starving and had to go back home for sourdough pancakes and bacon.  

This has GOT to be the one of the most beautiful places on earth. I had so many great photos, it was hard to decide what to leave out. (But I hate it when people post 30+ photos at a time; nobody wants to look at that many of anything!)

It seemed as though that early morning light was working against me. Every time I wanted to take a photo, I was facing into the sun!  The photos turned out OK though.  There are lots of little lakes along the way so of course I was checking for moose and other wildlife. I went 4 miles down a little tiny dirt road to Babson Lake which was a total waste of time; it was tiny and perfectly round, with really steep sides and only a tiny bit of water in the bottom.  It looked more like a round gravel pit. I decided not to take any more detours off the main road.  The next lake I came to I saw some ripples in the water so I parked and walked back a ways. I thought it was a lady moose! But now that I see the photos, I think it was a mule deer. I don’t think moose have ears that large.  I never could get a really good shot at it. I’ll pay attention next time I go past that place. Can you get a glimpse of it? It’s really tiny, down in the far right bottom corner.

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Here it is, much closer:

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On up the road is a big waterfall that flows into a pretty pond, with hiking trails all around and a wooden bridge across the narrow end of the pond. They had really interesting rocks as part of the steps down to the waterfall view. A little too big for collecting, I’m afraid, but I loved the different textures.  

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Near there was this really cute stone cottage…..I could live in this! I wonder what it was used for, there in the middle of the national forest?

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And then there’s Mirror Lake, very aptly named!

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I wonder why more people don’t know about the Snowy Range? It does not seem to be heavily visited at all. Maybe I should be keeping it a secret! 

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Medicine Bow Peak (12,000+ ft.)

The “neighbors” have invited me to a fish fry tonight! They went fishing yesterday and caught a bunch of cutthroat and rainbow trout….can’t wait!

 

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Is This Heaven? No, it’s Wyoming.

IS THIS HEAVEN? No, it’s Wyoming.  But it IS heavenly! First we went to Lake Hattie Recreation Area, a free BLM area west of Laramie. It had a boat launch and very pretty lake but there was no shade at all, and it was a little too warm.  I think I saw white pelicans on the lake!! Seems very wrong to see pelicans in Wyoming….maybe that’s not what they are? Anyone know?   And check out those snowy peaks in the distance!

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I also got all excited because I saw a critter swimming….I thought it might be a beaver, or muskrat. Turned out to be an old Golden Retriever, swimming around chasing rocks that a girl was throwing. Later I saw the dog resting in the water while the girl sat on shore. So sweet!

 

I was fairly content to stay in one spot for awhile, after 6 days of hard driving! But this grassland area was not the Wyoming I came to see, so I packed up at headed for the Snowy Range Scenic Highway 130, which runs between Laramie and Saratoga.  I noticed along the way to Hwy. 130 that hardly any of the homes I passed had any trees. That’s the first thing I’d do if I had land there; plant some trees! And NONE of them had any flowers!  Haven’t they ever heard of Curb Appeal?!

Frankly the highway between Laramie and Centennial is not very scenic unless you really like grasslands and cows. Finally right before Centennial it starts to climb into the mountains and pretty pine forests appear. I headed into the Medicine Bow Nat. Forest and stopped at the ranger station to check on the Keystone Fire situation. I couldn’t figure out exactly where it is from here, but there’s no smoke here at all and I think it’s miles and miles away. We’ve been getting some pretty good rains so I hope that’s helped.

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We are about 5 miles west of Centennial, (Sand Lake Road) at a large clearing in the pines. There are 4 massive 5th wheels here, and little ol’ me. It is beautiful, and the elevation is around 8200’ so it’s nice and cool. It’s been in the low 70’s during the day and 40 at night. I think it’s time to dig out the heater….when it’s 40 out, it’s 50 inside and that’s a tad bit chilly for me. It just seems to wrong to be using heat in July, but I’m loving it! And it smells like Christmas here! There’s not much shade here either but I managed to wedge the camper in between two smallish trees, so I do have shade at least part of the day. Roxie LOVES it here and wants to be outside all the time. The only downside is that there’s no cell or wifi signal at all, which might make me crazy after a day or two. I will send this out when I go to town.

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I have to relearn high altitude cooking. This is about the same altitude as where I lived in Ecuador, and I remember now that just because something is boiling, it doesn’t mean it’s hot! Crazy, huh?

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Going West Again

Roxie and I left Asheville on July 22 and headed west. The first day was the worst; we drove 300 miles to Nashville, TN. I heard on the radio that it was 98° with 90% humidity. It felt like walking through a hot cloud! When I opened the camper, it was 98° inside and it seemed like it took forever to cool it down. Because of the heat, I can’t stay at free campsites with no electricity along the way this time; I have to PAY for campsites! Oh horrors!!   We stayed at Seven Points Corps of Engineers Campground which is very convenient to Nashville, and only $11 a night with the Federal Senior Pass.  It was unusual for a COE campground; less than half the sites were not lakefront!  I had it all planned out to wait til 9:30 a.m. to leave the next morning, to avoid Nashville’s rush hour traffic. But I’d forgotten about the time change, so I had a whole hour to do nothing.  I texted my friend Patricia about having to wait, and when the hour was almost up, I got a return text: “But it’s Sunday!”   Duh, no rush hour and I wasted all that time!!

In order to reach the cheaper campsites I’m having to drive a lot longer each day than I like. I’d like to do 275-300 miles a day but it’s been more like 360, 400, and today 345. Ugh. And so hot, I don’t dare leave Roxie in the car even to make a quick run into a rest area bathroom, so I’ve been stopping and leaving the car running and locked, setting up the camper and using my porta-potty and then closing it up again and using my spare key to get back in. Thank goodness my camper is so easy to set up.

The second night I stayed in a really old campground, Pere Marquette State Park in IL, about 25 miles north of St. Louis. $20. I didn’t go in the bathrooms but they looked pretty old.  I was going to drive straight north on Hwy. 100 and cross the Mississippi at Hannibal the next day, but the road was closed. So I took a free ferry across the river! It runs continuously with no set time schedule; when they reach the shore, they take whoever’s there and go across, even if it’s just one car, back & forth.  It only takes a few minutes. I was impressed at how well the pilot knew the river currents….seemed like he was going to ram us into the shore nowhere near the landing, but then the current swept us right into place! I guess if that’s all you do all day long, you’d have it all figured out.

Not long after that was an other ferry, this time across the St. Charles River, and this time it cost $8.  Nice though that they didn’t charge extra for the camper, and it saved a bunch of driving time.

Third night was at a little marina campground on the Missouri River in Nebraska City, NE. That one made me angry because they advertised that it cost $19…..and didn’t mention that there’s also an $8 per car entry fee! I supposed $27 is still not a bad deal for a campsite, but it still was way more than I’d figured on, and I had to dig into my  stash of laundry quarters to pay it.

Tomight I’m still in Nebraska!! My apologies to anyone who lives there but really..nothing but soybeans, corn, and stinky cattle feedlots!  I was trying to figure out why anyone would WANT to live there….super hot in summer, super cold in winter, fairy flat and not very pretty unless you’re in love with corn, soybeans or cows.  I’m at a little campground in Big Springs; half price ($15) with the Passport America club.  It is 100 degrees here but only 24% humidity so it feels much more comfortable than Nashville. Still way too hot though, and the camper was 98° when I opened it up.  It’s taken 3 hours to get it cooled down to 78! I was very disappointed when I got here to find they only have little baby trees; hardly any shade! I believe this is the first time I’ve experienced 100 degree temps.

Only 200 more miles to go til I reach my destination: Centennial, WY. Tomorrow’s weather forecast for Centennial is a high of 67 and low of 50!  YESSSS!!!!  SO ready for some cool weather! And after this I should have some pretty photos to post, too.

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Making Plans

First off, I found my glasses! Just as I suspected, they turned up shortly after I got the new ones. They were on a desk in the house. It’s in a little cubby in the hallway, with dark countertop and my glasses just blended right in! Now I sorta remember sitting there to read the manual for the thermostat.  So now I have a spare pair; that’s good, and I’m so glad I found them before I left here!

My Chromebook had what I thought was it’s final deadly stroke….it’s been having little mini-strokes for a couple months but last week  it shut down and would not restart. So I ran out to Walmart and bought a new one, which I hated. So I ordered one from Amazon. One of the worst things about it was that the speakers were so bad, I had to put the whole thing up to my ear in order to hear anything!  I ended up being out the money for TWO new Chromebooks for awhile, as I didn’t return the Walmart one until I’d received the newest one.  In the meantime, after 4 days the old one woke up…..turns out it was apparently just in a coma. Now it’s working but still takes sudden naps from time to time, so it really is on it’s last legs. (And I love the new one!)

Last fall I left my kayak and paddle at a friend’s house in Michigan, thinking I’d be back up there this summer to pick it up. But now I’m not going to Michigan; I’m headed back out west! So I sadly asked my friend to sell them for me, which he did. I got $350 for the boat and $275 for the paddle so my savings account is heaving a big sigh of relief! I had drained it down to $3.56, purchasing those two new Chromebooks.

I also removed the two pair of Yakima kayak saddles from my cartop, and am trying to sell them though I don’t seem to have any takers. I’m terrified that I’m going to have to somehow find room in the car and haul them around with me when I leave. They’re pretty bulky but they do affect muy gas mileage so would rather not have to put them back on. So now there is nothing on my car roof……how the heck am I gonna find my car in a parking lot?? It was great when I carried the kayak; it made it really easy to spot. Even when I just had the saddles on top, that helped. Now I’ll probably spend hours wandering the parking lots looking for a beige Highlander that looks just like so many others.

I am having a ball researching my next trip to Wyoming and Colorado! For me, the planning is half the fun. I haven’t been to either of those places since the 70’s so it’s all new!  I plan to leave on July 21! I hope I can get all that stuff back into the car; it looks like a huge pile! I threw away the old broken solar panel, though that didn’t really take up much space. The glass bits were starting to loosen and fall all over the place.

My “garden” is going along OK, the green pepper plant is only 9″ tall  and has only one pepper on it, but it is growing nicely. I probably will just harvest it right before I leave and not try to carry it to Wyoming.  The celery is doing great and I will take that with me. I figured it out, that one little green pepper cost me around $7 for the plant, 2 pots and potting soil. I can buy an organic green pepper for arounjd $2.50 in the store! Oh well.

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That Tooth!

I totally chickened out on going to the low-cost clinic as a walk-in and possibly sitting there all day and still not be seen by the dentist.  I called a local clinic and was able to get an appointment the next morning  and the visit plus x-ray cost only $110. I’m certain that is WAY less than my own dentist would have charged!

The x-ray didn’t show anything.  No abcess, no real reason for the pain. That tooth has had a root canal and a crown, and he said that sometimes root canals do need to be re-done. ??  He said he could refer me to a specialist for a consultation about a new root canal but I can’t afford that.  The only other option would be to pull the tooth but he thought that was premature.  So I got a prescription for another antibiotic and I’ll see if I can coax it along for awhile longer. It’s not hurting anywhere near as much as it did back in April, so that’s good.

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Oh Crap!

They have an RV sewer connection here so it’s easy to empty my porta-potty. The “stuff” starts coming out before the spout gets anywhere near the pipe though, so I have to be real careful to aim well and pour slowly. I don’t know if you are familiar with porta-potties; they have a top section that holds the clean water for flushing, and a bottom section that holds the “stuff”. In between is a sliding plate valve that opens when you want to flush. Well yesterday I dumped it, rinsed it out and took it back inside. I reconnected the two sections and opened the valve to pour in the blue good-smelly stuff. As I opened the bottle, the cap jumped out of my hand and went whirling round and round the bowl like one of those Give To The Blind coin contraptions you see in stores. And then it plopped into the base. SCORE!
OH CRAP. I didn’t think it’d be a good idea to leave it in there, and I didn’t think it would be good to dump it down their sewer pipe either, so I dumped it out on the ground, in the little trench way over to the side where the rainfall runs down. There was less than a cup of the liquid, and I’d washed it out pretty good, so it was only very light brown……..but I still hated to do it. Call the EPA! The garden hose isn’t long enough to wash it down/dilute it. I hope it rains soon! I guess in the bigger scheme of things, it’s way less than a dog poop, but somehow it being Human makes it seem so much worse.
Annnnnd…..yet another change in plans! Funny how that happens. I have been having trouble sleeping; I wake up in the wee hours and my fingers hurt so badly I can’t get back to sleep. And then I noticed that the ring finger on my right hand, which I KNOW was straight when I left AZ, is now trying to become S-shaped! The middle finger has been twisty for some time, and the first knuckles are all getting knobby. The two middle fingers are heading off to the west at the first knuckle, while the little finger wants nothing to do with those yayhoos; it’s curving over to the east, trying to escape. So far the index finger is still straight but very knobby. And the left hand is still pretty good but getting knobs on the first knuckles.

This drastic change from less than two months ago was a  shocker. The first winter I spent in AZ, my finger pain disappeared completely, only to return when I came east for the summer. Last winter the pain didn’t completely go away, but I think that’s because the arthritis had progressed. I just realized that if I wanted to keep the use of my fingers for as long as possible, I really need to live in a dry climate. I need my hands! It’s a blow because I really love my summers in northern Michigan. I’ve been using my infrared white light on it for the past few days and I do think it is helping with the pain.

So…..I’m planning on leaving here July 22 and heading out to the Laramie/Cheyenne, WY area. I have been wanting to go to the Snowy River Range for several years now. It’s a high alpine area with lots of beautiful lakes and forests, and a gorgeous scenic byway (Hwy. 130) between Laramie and Centennial. The elevation is around 8000′ so I hope that’s high enough to escape the heat. Then I’ll work my way down through western Colorado, visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and end up in either Flagstaff or Clints Well some time in September. The temps in most of Arizona don’t get to my level of comfortable until November so I’ll have to stay in the higher elevations til then.

I hope the neighbor here will pick up what I’ve been doing….paying the 2 worker-guys and inspecting the house after a showing. It’s not at all time-consuming.

That tooth that was bothering me back in April has awakened again. I sorta forgot about it. My dentist here is more expensive than anyone else, and that was fine when I had dental insurance and only had to pay a little bit extra, but now I can’t afford him. I bet it would cost $200 just to have him LOOK at this tooth! So I called the Western NC health clinic (for poor people) here in Asheville but they told me you have to be a Buncombe County resident, have HIV or be trans-gender. Ummm…OK? Oh well. So I called the Henderson County equivalent and they don’t have any appointments available for new patients until September!! But she said I could just come in and see if they can work me in; no guarantees though. So I guess I will do that tomorrow and just plan on sitting there most of the day. The weather forecast says 0% chance of rain tomorrow, and I wouldn’t want Roxie to have to suffer through a loud thunderstorm all alone. Last time that happened, when I came home she was standing on the stove! And normally she thinks she can’t jump onto the bed (which is the only way she could have gotten to the stove). I hate to think that I might have to go there every day for awhile!! But they have a sliding scale for payments, according to your income. I hope they have good air conditioning! Ugh, sure not looking forward to this. And in the end, I’ll probably have to get it pulled. I can’t afford a root canal, and that tooth already has a crown. I hope it won’t show. Boy, being poor with bad teeth is awful! I just know I’m going to end up one of those toothless hillbilly types; most of my teeth have crowns and bridges that are aging fast! Sigh.

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Lazy Days

I haven’t been doing much of anything lately, so not much to write about. The most exciting thing going on has been the people mowing the lawn!  The strawberries are coming in nicely and I’ve been able to get a few, plus some blueberries to go with my homemade organic Greek yogurt, which is really yummy and much cheaper than the store-bought stuff.

I lost my glasses!!  They HAVE to be in this camper somewhere, but where?? You wouldn’t think something could actually get lost in this small a space. I’ve given up on finding them and ordered new glasses from ZenniOptical.com. $50 for glasses with progressive bifocal lenses, plus a pair of clip-on sunglasses to fit them! I hope they’re not too ugly; I got the $9.95 frames. I am counting on the old glasses showing up as soon as the new ones come. That’s the way it works, isn’t it?

And my microwave bit the dust last week too. The door latch quit working, and the microwave won’t “go” if the door isn’t latched. So I bought a $38 one from Wal-Mart yesterday but haven’t pulled the old one out and installed the new one yet.

I met the neighbor guy Monday and hope I don’t meet him again! Blah, blah, blah, and all about his many health problems.  I had a hard time escaping. See, this is why I like boondocking out in the middle of nowhere. I’m not a nice person; I don’t LIKE people! I just want to be left alone. Now I’ll have to sneak around when I go check the mail.

I’ve been checking up on what’s for sale around here and also in northern Michigan. I would prefer to find a place here but there just isn’t much in my price range that’s livable. I’m looking for something under $15,000 and in NC-SC-GA that means a large house that’s pretty much wrecked, that would take thousands more to make livable.  I really want a small house, under 600 sq. ft. (which would be more than 10 times the size I’m living in now!) There’s much more available in Michigan in my price range, because there are lots and lots of little cottages and cabins up there, and many of them are in pretty decent shape and just need minor repairs or updating.  I could probably find an older mobile home on land around here but I don’t think I want something that’s only going to depreciate, and many of those are 900-1000 sq. ft. also. I just don’t want to have to heat, cool and clean that much space. I’m hoping to get up to Michigan in August to look around at what’s available. In the meantime I have to figure out how I’d pay for it…sadly, I’d probably have to buy it on my credit card because those kind of homes are not mortgageable.  I’m trying to save up though, if only those unexpected expenses wouldn’t keep cropping up!

 

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Growing Things

I am growing celery from the end of a grocery store bunch or organic celery! I cut about an inch off the end and stuck it in a little dish with water, and changed the water every day and look how cute! After only  6 days, new celery is growing! I suspect it’ll take forever to get actual new stalks, but I don’t mind using little baby-stalks. It will be nice to be able to harvest what I need without killing the plant, as I tend to throw a lot of celery away; it goes bad before I can use up a whole bunch of it. I need to plant it in dirt pretty soon. I read that you bury the whole thing up to where the new growth is coming out.

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And I also have another green pepper plant. I hope she does better than last year’s pepper who rejected her child when it was only an inch or so grown. I really wanted to have a lot of container veggies but since it’s so uncertain how long I’ll be here, I decided I’d better not. I think Celery and Pepper could travel with me if I have to leave.

I’ve discovered even more competition for those strawberries….apparently the squirrels really like strawberries too! They are nasty about it…they pick a berry and bring it up to a rock or onto the gravel drive, and then they eat about half of it and leave the rest there to taunt me. There are half-eaten strawberries all over the place! So far I’ve only gotten two berries that are kinda-sorta ripe. Obviously I can’t wait for them to ripen, or they’ll be gobbled up by all the competition.  I am the sole owner of the blueberries though, and I harvested a small handful the other day and had them in my yogurt. They are FAR superior to those flavorless grocery store blueberries!

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Blooming!

Everything’s bursting into bloom here. The  honeysuckle grows wild and the smell is intoxicating! It’s all over the bank on the high side of the driveway.

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I’ve had a hankering for meatloaf for a long time and I bought a toaster oven at Goodwill for $3. So yesterday I put the oven on a little table that’s in the garage, plugged it into an extension cord and made my meatloaf. The oven timer is only for 10 minutes though! So I had to set a little kitchen timer for 9 minutes and reset the oven timer…6 times. I sat in my lawn chair right in front of the open garage door, with my trusty fire extinguisher at my side. Just in case the oven was faulty, I didn’t want to burn down the garage!  But all was well, and the meatloaf turned out great. While I was sitting there, there was a little animal parade. First a fat opossum came squaddling across the driveway and into the honeysuckle. No time for a photo of him, but I did get a photo of the next guy, a little Eastern Box Turtle. He was headed straight for the garage so I redirected him to the strawberry patch.

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And oh, the strawberries! There’s a LOT of them, and they are starting to get ripe! Can’t wait, though Jenni told some of the neighbors they could have some, so I don’t know how many I’ll actually be able to get. A guy showed up yesterday with a BIG bag but they’re not quite ripe yet…….obviously he has big plans to harvest a lot of berries though. 😦 And I didn’t realize that turtles really like strawberries. Now I have more competition for them! Every time I see a berry getting red, there’s already a big chunk taken out of it.

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And finally, the water lilies in the pond are blooming. First were some yellow ones, and now pink. Very pretty!

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I made homemade Greek yogurt! I used a thrift store find, an insulated stainless steel coffee carafe to incubate it. I bought a quart of organic whole milk (in a glass bottle!) but after I had it on the stove, I realized my digital thermometer does not work. It was steaming but the thermometer only read 112 degrees! It’s supposed to heat to 180 degrees, then cool down to 110.  I had to just guess, but apparently it’s very forgiving, because it turned out to be really delicious! I made it speak Greek by straining it through paper coffee filters.

Yesterday I got an email from my bank that a transaction had been denied…..someone in Utah was trying to use my debit card to buy something for $69.95! Thank goodness Wells Fargo has a good fraud detector system, but I had to cancel my card and get a new one in the mail…..what a hassle! I’ll have to change to the new card number at a bunch of websites where my card number is saved, and for recurring payments. Ugh!

Am I the only who’s been getting Facebook Friend Requests from people you don’t know? It’s always middle-aged men, and when I go into their FB page, they don’t have any other friends. Why me??? Just my luck to have a bunch of friend requests from loser men who have no friends.

 

Posted in North Carolina | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Chillin’ in Asheville

We are all settled in at our covered berth in Asheville, NC. As it gets hotter, I’m really appreciating the electricity to use the roof vent fan as much as I want, and I’m starting to need the air conditioner as well.  Having the carport roof overhead really helps to keep the camper cooler though.

I am trying to figure out what to do with my camper door. On the way here, I noticed the dreaded flashing blue lights in my rear-view mirror. My heart sank because the new registration sticker for the camper’s license plate was waiting for me here in Asheville, and I was driving on very expired plates (expired in February!). But the trooper was very nice and didn’t even ask for my license and registration; he stopped me because my camper door had come open and was flapping in the wind!   Boy just seeing those blue lights in the mirror took several years off my life! Somehow the roof latch on that side of the camper had jumped off….it was still all locked together, but was hanging down, which allowed the roof to raise enough so the door came open. It had also been hyper-extended….the door never used to open all the way flat against the camper.  So now the door doesn’t really want to stay closed, it keeps a very big gap instead of staying nicely closed against the weatherstripping. Right now that’s not a problem but if I go to Michigan’s Mosquito Country, they’re gonna love that easy access. And when it gets cold, it will be letting in an awful lot of cold air.  Maybe I just need to replace the piano hinge. I’m thinkin’ about what to do.

Life here is fairly quiet and calm. We hide out in the camper if the house is being shown, and pretend to be invisible. One crazy realtor last week jerked the camper door open while we were in here though! What a shock! He said he didn’t know there was anyone in here, but…..the listing realtor had told him I was here, plus my car is sitting right next to the camper!!  What a nutcase. All I could think was “glad I wasn’t sitting on the porta-potty when he opened the door”!  From now on I’ll keep it locked when people are around.

It’s great to be in a place where I pretty much know my way around; I lived in the Asheville area since 1979. And it’s also really nice that Asheville is a great place to get fresh organic foods, grass-fed and pastured meats, etc.  I’m trying to eat “cleaner” without breaking the bank….not an easy task.

I am finally feeling much better! It took three different antibiotics to clear up a simple UTI…..probably because factory farmed animals are fed so many antibiotics, the “bugs” are getting resistant to them. 80% of all antibiotics are used in agriculture!

Thank you so much for  using my Amazon link to place your orders! It really helps.

https://www.amazon.com/?tag=litbitliv01-20

 

 

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Kashe-Katuwe Tent Rocks

This is a post from New Mexico that somehow got left out.

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Our campground is not far from the Kashe-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument so we went over there yesterday afternoon. It was a lot more interesting than I expected! The weird rock formations are the result of explosive volcanic eruptions 6-7 million years ago. We hiked a little bit up on trail and then drove 3.5 miles of bad road to get to a nice overlook.

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I just loved the curliques on this agave (?) plant. It had blooms in three different stages on the same plant!

Thanks again for using my Amazon Associates link when you order goodies from Amazon.  https://www.amazon.com/?tag=litbitliv01-20

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I’m Still Alive and Kicking!

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post!!!  I left Santa Fe on April 26 and have been sickly ever since; also have no wifi signal at all at my new place.  Here is a twilight photo of the house I’m caretaking…..isn’t it magnificent!

Jenni Home Twilight

I am still living in my camper here; the house is vacant and empty. My main jobs are to scare away potential burglars and distribute money to the yard, pond & pool maintenance people, in exchange for full hookups and a carport roof overhead.  It’s a tough life. The only bad thing is that my wifi hotspot doesn’t work here at all. I’m trying to figure something out that won’t be too costly.

While I was in Santa Fe I had a really bad toothache so I started taking Keflex that I’d gotten in Mexico. Then the day I left, I got a urinary tract infection….while still on the Keflex! I tried some home remedies like cranberry capsules and of course drinking tons of water, and taking vinegar and water (ewww, nasty!). It’s hard to try to drive cross-country with a UTI!  Several times I had to pull off the road, throw up the camper roof & sides and use the porta-potty! I finally gave up and went to a walk-in clinic in Conway, AR. I told the doc there that sulfa drugs did not work well for me but he coerced me into taking Bactrim anyway. He also offered prescription-strength of the analgesic orange dye pills like Cystex.  He said they were a lot stronger than the OTC version, and I wanted that because I was having so much trouble sleeping. You can only take the OTC ones every 8 hrs. but they really only last for about five, and once you take the new ones, they take a more than two hours to get to work!  So I was usually awake for at least 4 hours in the middle of every night. The prescription version, however, was not covered by my insurance and cost $28!!!  And when I got them, I discovered the sad truth….it’s the same drug as the OTC stuff, but prescription strength is 100 mg. The OTC strength is 97.5 mg!!  I paid SEVEN TIMES as much for 2.5 mg extra strength!!!  No wonder the insurance wouldn’t cover them. So let that be a lesson to you, don’t bother with the prescription version.

I continued on in misery, as the Bactrim did not kick in at all until the 4th day of the 5-day course. I was not able to drive as long each day, as I was so tired from not getting much sleep!  It altered my schedule enough that I was able to stop off in Nashville and visit my old grade school friend Nancy Cotter & stay overnight in her driveway. Yes, she did invite us to stay inside but I’m more comfortable in my own bed, and I especially appreciated my porta-potty being only one step away! We finally arrived in Asheville on May 1. And finally I felt better for one day. The very next day I had a slight fever. And the next. And at night my back hurt quite a lot, around my waist area. So I went to another walk-in clinic the third day and apparently since the Bactrim was so slow to work, some of the bacteria crept up into my kidneys and was trying to wreak havoc. It was a very mild kidney infection, with low-grade fevers. Since the bugs seemed resistant to two other antibiotics, she prescribed a one-dose drug, a powder that had to be dissolved in water and drank.  It also was not covered by my insurance (I’m starting to see a pattern here) and cost $80!!!  For one dose!! But it finally did the job. I’m feeling much better now, though having fevers for a week has really made me weak as a kitten, even though they were not very high!

So…overall, a really bad couple of weeks for me health-wise and money-wise. I hate to beg, but….please try to remember to use my Amazon Associates link when you order from Amazon! (And order lots!!!) I just looked and I’ve “earned” less than $10 for the first week of May.  A normal month for me is between $150 and $200, and it makes a huge difference to me! Even small orders help, as the % is figured on number of items shipped. (Digital orders count too, even your $.99 Kindle books!)  And it doesn’t cost you any more than ordering the normal way. Thank you so much! Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/?tag=litbitliv01-20

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Good Luck and Good Ice Cream

This morning we went to the San Felipe Hollywood Casino for their breakfast buffet, which the camp hosts here told us about. It’s a nice small casino and wasn’t even too smoky! We signed up for their Players Club and got $20 in free play plus an additional $10 because it was Seniors Day! And we also got a $1 discount on the $7.95 buffet. By the time we got there they also had the lunch buffet going too, so we could have any of it! I can’t say it was a memorable buffet; I’m not a big fan of buffet food except maybe for Golden Corral.  But we ate our breakfast (with dessert!) and then went to get rid of that $30 in free play. Joanne and I were thinking about just cashing in and getting the $30 but it didn’t work that way; they kept winnings and promotional credit separate. So every time I won more than a dollar, I’d cash out and stick the ticket in my pocket. That was I was sure to not spend any of MY money, just the Promotional money. When I had run through that $30 in free play I went to find J & J and explained my plan; turns out they were playing on their own money by then. So they cashed out too and I ended up with $27.25, and they each got $20-21!! I credit those turquoise door photos we took at Taos Pueblo for our good luck….best casino ever! I usually go in with a very tiny amount of money and lose it all in about 5 minutes.

We wanted to be sure and get some real ice cream today, since it’s my last day here. But we were still too full from breakfast so we went back home and then went back out in the afternoon. We went to La Lecheria in Santa Fe. They make their own ice cream and have cool flavors like Lemon Goat Cheese, Ceylon Cinnamon, Chocolate Sea Salt, Green Chile and Earl Grey. Good, really really good.

Posted in New Mexico | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Bandelier National Monument

Jeanne, Joanne, the dogs and I set out for Bandelier National Monument on Sunday. We did not realize it was one of the free entrance days….what a crowd! There were hardly any parking places open and people were everywhere. Plenty of beautiful scenery on the way there, and inside the park. The “good stuff” is only seen by hiking at least 1/2 mile, which I was unable to do, so some of the photos are courtesy of Joanne Jarrett.

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Dogs are not allowed on the trails so we tried to leave them in the car so I could TRY to do part of the hike, but Roxie just won’t shut up in someone else’s car (and Lord knows, there’s no room in my car for passengers!). We had a windshield foil thing up, windows part way down and it was NOT a hot day, but with her barking her head off, people were muttering about the poor dog in a hot car so I sat in the car and waited for J&J to do the 1.2 mile hike, so Miss Mouth would be quiet.

When they returned we were really hungry so we went to the tiny snack bar in the gift shop. They had a soft-serve ice cream machine but it seemed there was only one person working the whole gift shop, so Jeanne applied her Dairy Queen experience and got us all cones, and when she went to pay for them, she got yelled at for doing it. We didn’t care.

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On the way home we stopped at Red Lobster for an early dinner…yum! Again we put the foil in the windshield and rolled the windows down quite a bit. It was even cooler by then but someone complained to the management about the poor doggie in the hot car. They think just because she’s barking, it means she’s too hot. So when we stopped at Wal-Mart, I didn’t even bother to try and go in the store, I just stayed in the car with the dogs.  I really hate that my life is controlled by a less-then-ten-pound-dog!

I started taking antibiotics for my toothache and it’s feeling much better.

 

 

Posted in New Mexico | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Santa Fe and Taos

On the 19th I met up with my NC camping friend Jeanne and her sister Joanne. We are camped at Tetilla Peak Campground in the Cochiti Lake Rec. Area, about 25 miles SW of Santa Fe. It’s only $10 a night with the Geezer Pass, and has electricity and water. We can see the lake but we’re not really close to it.

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The photo above is the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge on the way to Taos. You’re supposed to park at the rest area at one end and walk halfway out on the bridge to see the river far below. (We didn’t. )

Our most memorable experience in Taos was the pizza at Mondo Italiano. We ordered the large pizza for $14, and ordered 4 toppings. It was pretty good though the sauce was very spicy and the cheese was scanty, we enjoyed it. Then we got the bill…$29!!!  None of us noticed that there were any topping prices on the menu, but each veg. topping cost $2.50 extra, and each meat topping was $4!  Yikes!  Next time we’ll look for the small print, or ask.

We went to Taos Pueblo, where around 1000 people still live the “old way”…no electricity, they dip all their water from the stream, and they farm and hunt for their food. I took a few photos of the turquoise doors, as that’s supposed to bring good luck.

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We then went up up up into the forest to Eagle Nest and Angel Fire, cute little towns up around 8400′. Angel Fire is a ski resort town.

In Santa Fe, we visited the Loretto Chapel, the church with the “miraculous staircase”. The story is that the architect for the chapel died, and once the chapel was built they realized there was no stairway to get to the choir loft. Many churches back then just had ladders, but the nuns were afraid their long habits would be dangerous on a ladder. So they prayed to St. Joseph for nine days, and then a drifter appeared. He said he would build them a stairway but he needed total privacy, ane he locked himself in the chapel for three months. The staircase is built totally of non-native wood, using a few primitive tools. It has no central post and was not attached to any walls. It really is pretty amazing. The handrail was added later. As soon as the staircase was finished, he disappeared and no one knows his name.

 

At the Visitor Center we asked about a good restaurant that was NOT Mexican and she told us the Plaza Cafe. So we went there and the only non-Mexican dishes they had was breakfast, so I had bacon & eggs for lunch! I’m just not a big fan of Mexican food. I’ve been having a lot of trouble with a tooth so it was really hard to eat.  After the waiter took our orders, he said “How about some chips and salsa and guacamole?” And Jeanne said “Yeah!”. Well those chips she thought were free, cost $12.95!! It’s OK, Joanne was paying, LOL.

Thank you for using my Amazon Associates link when you order goodies from Amazon! And a HUGE thanks to whoever ordered the $1000 Brake Buddy!!!  Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/?tag=litbitliv01-20   Even small purchases help to increase the percentage I get, as it’s based on number of items shipped. The cost to you is the same.

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