Friday, September 13, 2013

Not quite the last post

This is it, the last installment, unless Kathrine decides to do a recap of the entire misadventures.

I will have driven 8193 miles by the time I get home if I don't take too many wrong turns. Not much to many of the seasoned travelers I've met along the way, but quite a bit for me and the dog. I've missed a few things along the way that people said I should stop and see and things I've noticed that I wish I had been able to stop and explore but we can save those for future explorations. You need to save something to come back to.

I've said I'm indifferent toward Walmart, but thanks to Sam Walton and his money Little Rock has one of the finest cancer research facilities in the world and his daughter has amassed a wonderful art collection and built a magnificent building in which to house the collection out in the middle of nowhere in Bentonville, Arkansas. Along with everything else my Walmart stock helped finance Sam and Becca's education, so I guess they are not all bad and they allow you to sleep in their parking lots for free.

When Jennifer was sick we came out to Little Rock to seek a second opinion on her treatment. We had planned a stop at the Clinton Library but ran out of time and I have done it again. Maybe this brings up an opportunity to go on a road trip to visit all the Presidential libraries.

After tonight I'm putting my head down and heading for home, no more stops since I have to return this thing on Saturday by 11:00 am. I'm hoping to see Atlanta before sunrise on Saturday. My next trip is going to be up the east coast to Maine in a smaller RV towing a car with just me, the dog and maybe my cat if she starts acting like a cat instead of the spawn of Satan. I'm not going to give myself any deadlines and not much of an agenda so I can do and stay as long as I wish. Anyone who wishes to join me is welcome to hop on along the way but you can only stay three days unless you happen to be a very friendly single female then we might change the rules just a bit.

As Jennifer would have said "Happy trails".

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What day is this?

I drove to Santa Fe in another day of pouring rain.

 I must be headed East with a huge storm front because it has not stopped raining since I left the North Rim of the Canyon on... whatever day that was. With all of the wonderful art galleries and what I could see through the rain must be a beautiful city.  I never got out of the 30' thing I am trying to maneuver around through rather narrow streets.  I can't see anything, which is not safe for the citizens of Santa Fe so I did what any thoughtful person would do.  I decided to go up the mountain to scare the people of Los Alamos and take in the museum about the Manhattan Project.

Actually two very different and interesting museums. I can understand why the government choose this place; it is very much like a castle on a high plateau easily guarded by a few soldiers along a long narrow mountain road. The current residents seem so laid back and they nearly radiate (pun intended) intelligence. No crime, free public transportation nothing to do but hike.

One photo in the museum shows a woman wearing a pair of earrings made from the sand that was fused together at the first test site to form a new mineral, Trinitite named after the site at Trinity. It is radioactive!

After leaving Los Alamos I decided I needed to drive as far as I could toward home. I wound up about 9:00 pm in a Walmart parking lot with a couple of other poor lost souls with nowhere else to stay. Around 2:00 am I woke up to the sounds of someone playing the bass on his car stereo so loud that it shook the RV.

I gave up and left in the pouring rain at around 3:30 but not before securing some needed supplies, i.e. another coffee carafe since I just broke the one I purchased as a replacement for the one that was broken earlier, a flash light to replace my defective one and a magnifying glass since Scott took his. I can't read the map but it really doesn't matter since I never seem to know quite where I am or where I'm heading.

Along Route 66 the Cadillacs were still standing tall in the field but like most things Route 66, at least what is left of it, has become nothing like we remember or imagine as a sixties TV show.

The state of Texas did something very cool along I-40 around McLean. They built a road side rest area that looks like an art deco dinner including frosted glass doors and port hole windows. Inside they had really decorative tile work and numerous advertising signs from the Route 66 era. We have to give credit to Texas, they get it right occasionally, after all they gave us a fairly decent President (I'll leave it to you to choose which one).  A friend from my Tampa wine tasting group said after she moved to Texas "These Texans sure are proud of their state". I always think that is a kind way to explain their state of mind.

Tonight, as I was traveling through Oklahoma City, I thought of the many times Scott told me to stay between the lines as we were speeding along the highway.

I got pulled over by a city cop who proceeded to ask me for my license and the rental agreement on the RV. Of course I could not produce the rental contract because Scott had it back in Georgia. This led to a long conversation about what I was doing, where I was headed and where had I been. He seemed very curious about why I had no passengers and why had the other merry travelers left me.

He asked if I knew why he had stopped me? Of course I had no idea since I had not been drinking and was to my knowledge not speeding. He proceeded to tell me that since he had been following I had failed to maintain my lane and had in fact run off the road on the right and stayed there until I moved over into the left lane and remained there until moving back over into the shoulder. I explained about the dog's driving and my trying to get some M&M peanuts. When he tried to leave Mitzi proceeded to bark and protest as she does whenever anyone leaves (separation anxiety).  The patrolman scratched Mitzi's head and said he had a pug that looked just like Mitzi. My reply was, "well you know how bad pugs drive".

He let me go without a ticket.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Driving by Braille

We all have misconceptions about numerous things; people, politics, religion and states. When I worked in Denver years ago people would ask if it ever got cold in Georgia. Well I always assumed Arizona was flat, hot, dry and populated by retirees, Native Americans (politically correct speech), illegal aliens (not politically correct) and John McCain. Well I was correct about the population but the landscape, at least what I have seen in my travels, is absolutely beautiful and it has rained almost constantly for the last two days. The desert is not a place to walk your dog but it is beautiful from a distance and the mountains, while not being the Alps, are stunning primarily because you have such good views.

Having spent the night in the Casino parking lot I drove a couple of miles and spotted an RV site that advertised itself as an adult camp site. I'm not sure what they meant by adult but I noticed a bar next door that advertised strippers. Had I known that I might have driven a little further and saved some money; but maybe not.

Scott would have enjoyed the drive over to the Petrified Forest National Park. Driving though the back roads and passing through a town call Snow Flake (I just love the name) I went through a thunderstorm like none I've ever seen. It was raining so hard you could not see the lines in the road but if you ran off to the right you could feel the rumble strips and if you crossed the center line you could feel the bumps. It is called driving by feel and not for the faint of heart.

I have now passed into New Mexico and keep hearing Get your Kicks on Route 66. I tried driving it for awhile but it terminates along the way and much of it can be seen from the interstate. I'll try a little more today if it stops raining.
Added by Kathrine:
I asked Scott when David is planning on being home.  He replied that we've agreed to meet him Friday afternoon to unload the motorhome.  The motorhome has to be turned in by noon Saturday, squeaky clean.  Considering David doesn't like driving interstates, and it is now Tuesday afternoon, we may need to start taking bets on either actual arrival date, or miles driven on the final day.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lessons learned

The latest, direct from David...

 I'm sitting here in Sedona waiting for the rain to let up so I can get started on the next leg of this journey. I know why people tow cars behind these RV's. I would like to drive around in the rain and look at the city but that does not happen in this thing.

I learned a few things last night. Like I should consider locking the door. There is a couple staying next to me who have rented an RV just like this one with identical decals and lettering. Sometime during the night or early morning someone opened the door and when Mitzi barked and I jumped up a woman screamed "oh my God excuse me" and left. I did not get to see her so I'm not sure if she would have been an invited guest had we met earlier.

With my dinner of roasted chicken, potatoes and wilted salad I discovered that potatoes have a shelf life approaching that of nuclear material. These potatoes were left over from June when my sister and our friend Lane Johnson looked after the beach house and the animals while I went paddling. The potatoes were pretty tasty but I can't say the same for the wilted salad.

I also discovered the best way to accommodate both the slightly overweight pug and myself in bed. The dog has been constantly pushing me out of bed (the fold out sofa that is not quite as wide as a regular bed and about 5" shorter) during this entire trip so I found a solution. If I sleep on my side with my back to the outer wall it gives her the required three fourths of the sleeping area. Now she seems happy and she does not steal all the cover.

I finally gave up on the rain and fog and headed toward Scottsdale and Taliesin West. I wanted to go the scenic route through the mountains (4 hrs 15 min) but because of the rain I though there would be significantly more risk to life and limb and changed to the interstate (only 2 hrs 30 minutes); I hate driving the interstates. The visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home pales in comparison to his original Taliesin.

So I left Scottsdale headed toward Santa Fe not knowing where or when I would stop. Do you think the parking lot of a casino is a good place to stay overnight for an addictive personally who likes to gamble?

Well, I thought, "why not?"  So here I am in Payson, Arizona, about to go shoot craps as soon as I finish this and Mitzi has finished her business.

Later and much richer I hope.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Funnier from a distance

Every so often yesterday, Scott and I commented to each other that we haven't heard from David yet.  So late last night I sent him an email with the simple question, "Are you alive?" This was Grand Canyon day, just for the record, so it wasn't such silly question.  Then I said that I hoped he had found a campsite and wasn't still driving.   Even later came the reply...

Well yes I probably was when you sent this since I did not stop until about 45 minutes ago. A short while after dark which leads to complicated backing.
For the blog: I left the North Rim this morning and decided to go see what the gully looked like from the other side. Not too much difference except it was raining, lightning and we had a brief hail storm which left the shoulders of the road looking as if it had snowed. The Canyon, even in the poor weather was spectacular especially during the lightning storm. I took numerous really bad photos which, being the computer illiterate that I am, I can not send to you. I have decided as my next New Year's resolution to take photography lessons. That fits right in with my resolutions to quit drinking, work out and lose thirty pounds.
The day was fairly uneventful, until I got to Santa Fe where Mitzi made a few driving errors. A turn too fast combined with hitting a curb resulted in almost everything stored in the overhead bins being deposited on the floor including the vodka, the tonic, my computer and I pad and Mitzi. Nothing broken except my mouse without which I can barely type this note. Maybe it is a sign that I should fix myself a vodka & tonic.
After replacing my mouse and buying roasted chicken, (I don't think they know out here how good fried chicken really is especially if it is reduced for quick sale), I headed for Sedona. This town sits in the middle of a red rock canyon. Everything is red; the houses, the roofs, the sidewalks, the curbs even the Jesus Saves sign is red. I'll reserve judgment on the rest of the city for tomorrows tour.

I just read this note to Scott as he was sitting stationary on our very own back deck.  He was roaring with laughter.  This simply proves that many things are much funnier from a distance.  Safe travels David, try to keep the wheels in between those lines they paint on the road.

And I will post photos taken by all once everyone is settled at home.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Life goes on...but wait, it gets better!

I could hardly figure out how to break it to you all.

Sometime before the show in Sausalito was set up it was decided that due to my tight schedule, (I have another show, this time in Kansas City, in less than 3 weeks), that it would be best if Scott and I flew home before the Epic Journey had officially ended. 

There were no hard feelings, and this will give David a little time to explore on his own.  Especially important, as he is actually considering buying a small motorhome and going on another trip.  He dropped Scott and I off on the Strip in Las Vegas.  Scott had re taped the Kleenex box and other important things down throughout the motorhome, and left David the left over roll of tape so he could continue the tradition.

But I did worry about how I was going to either finish up, or carry on with this blog.  Then David's emails started to arrive.  Slightly edited for clarity...

From my perspective.
I awoke this morning in the middle of the desert not even knowing in which state I've parked this thing. The dog is definitely not a desert dog because she refuses to go do her business in anything but grass. Finally after two days she found a small patch of leaves and relieved herself.
Becca called to tell me she had attempted to back the Chickie-mobile (this was David and Jennifer's Honda, Becca flew back to Atlanta for yet another job interview) out of the drive.  But instead of being in reverse had it in drive and promptly drove into the side of the garage.
I looked at my email this morning and saw a message from American Express that someone has stolen my credit card number and is charging things on line to my account. After trying to explain to a customer service rep, who had an accent that I could not understand, they canceled my credit card leaving me with one other card and some cash to finish the trip. She continued to ask me where I want the new replacement card sent and could not understand that I had no idea where I am or where I would be in the coming days.

Finally she transferred me to another agent who after a brief conversation asked me if there was anything else they could do for me. My response was hire people in America instead of India; he said she was in Malaysia. That really made my day. After 30 years I may not use AMX again.
So now I'm off to a grand start to see the Grand Canyon.

Then this one arrived at about 2am Eastern Standard time, or 11pm wherever David was...

It sure is quiet in here, no f bombs, no complaints about my driving from Mitzi and no cussing at the GPS.
I drove from Lake Mead over to Zion Canyon then on to the Grand Canyon. The drive through Zion Canyon was spectacular. A drive that Scott would have appreciated since it was at least as windy and narrow as the road we took into Yellowstone where Scott declared his fear of heights and could not abide my driving.
I had to pay an extra "tunnel fee" so they could close the tunnel and stop traffic to allow me to drive down the center line of the road while inside the tunnel. Scott must have called them in advance to warn them of my driving. This tunnel had limited head room and was even more narrow than the bridge over the Columbia River where we folded the rear view mirrors in to avoid hitting oncoming traffic.
After Zion I drove directly to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I expected to see something like Zion on my way to the rim but except where fires had decimated the forest it was just lush greenery with cows, deer and bison grazing in the meadows. I got there just as the sun was setting; it was beautiful. I only wish I had been able to book a camp site at the rim but none were available. I did manage to get the last spot in a site at the turn off 35 miles from the rim.
The only problem with this was driving back down at night and finding the camp site. The deer I had seen on the way up grazing in the meadow had on the way down in the dark moved to the very edge of the pavement which presented yet another hazard to both driver and deer. I'm sure the deer were terrified to see me and the dog careening down the mountain. I'm sure they could see me because I had failed to turn off the lights inside the RV and did not want to stop, move the dog out of my lap and get up and turn the lights off.
I finally found the camp site after stopping twice at the same bar to ask some poor girl directions and if she was sure of the location. Maybe I should have just stayed for drinks.
Oh well off to more adventures tomorrow if I can quit drinking long enough to figure out where I'm going.

I think we may have more than one humorous writer in the family.  More soon.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Good god almighty

A phrase often used in this rolling rattling tin can...Good god almighty. Actually that is one of the nicest things said.  If you can imagine it, it's been said, probably by me, and with visible eye rolling.  Yes, this would make a really bad movie. I have become a woman who says mean things to pugs who bark and bark and bark and bark when David steps outside of the motorhome. As long as she can see him, she barks.  Like the entire time he is pumping gas, do you know how long that takes?

Yup, two nights, that's about as long as it takes to go a wee bit psycho.

So, what happened today?  We left the creepy RV place in the middle of nowhere, unshowered.  You see, I checked out the shower facilities, and although I have showered in some questionable places, this one was just over the line.  The boys agreed, so we made a pact that as long as none of us showered, it would be even, and we'd be ok.

So off we go, Vegas bound.  The landscape on the drive from the Middle Of Nowhere, California to Vegas is amazingly varied.  From mega farms, to a slaughterhouse that smelled far, far worse than sticking your head into a full cat litterbox, for MILES!  Then the landscape dries to desert, greens up enough to grow what I think are Joshua trees, and then gets quite green and shrubby again at the highest part of the climb into Vegas.

So we pull into Vegas around 5:30, traffic is a bit heavy, it's raining a bit, and we have no place to park yet. We had talked about it. David didn't want to park at Circus Circus, because it was expensive. It was, I am paying less for a hotel tomorrow night than they want for a chunk of concrete with hook ups. But that was about as far as we got.

So we pull into town, Scott is driving, David is navigating, and I am in the position I take when I want absolutely nothing to do with what is going on in the cab. I'm on the very back bunk. Looking out the windows as we drive through the strip. I think they are trying to spot some sort of RV park, as the landscape changes from the faux luxury of the casinos, to strip mall wedding chapels and pawn shops.  About this time I post the current predicament on Facebook, just for comic relief.

I stop looking out the windows, and eventually we seem to find ourselves somewhere we have to back out of. I have no idea if the road was closed, or what the story is, but we seemed to be under a highway overpass, trying to get turned around, backing up a few times.  I saw a do not enter sign at one point. I've decided just not to ask what actually happened there.

So about that time, a Facebook friend says something about Sam's Town. Cheap RV parking with hook-ups.  Halle-freaking-lulia.  I find their website, get the address and get to the front seat as they finally start to pull over to, as David said, "figure this shit out."

I only had to raise my voice long enough to get their attention. The address was put into the GPS, and we arrived about 10 minutes later.  Drinks were poured within minutes of arrival, seconds, actually.

But that wasn't the best part.

The best part of the whole day?  It was another Facebook moment.  We are driving through the Mojave Desert, and I check Facebook.  Looking at my wall, I see Sam Garr has changed his relationship status to "Married".  Sam Garr, for those of you who may not know is David Garr's son.  The David who is driving the motorhome I am currently riding in at about 70 mph.

So I start sending messages to Sam as fast as I can.  Sam is in Qatar, by the way.  He was deployed there just a few days ago.  "Married Sam? Like married-married, or like kinda pretend wanna be married?" Real married, like new name on her Social security card married.  So after a few minutes of chatting with Sam, I call Scott back to the back bunk. (I hang out there a lot, it helps.)

And tell him what I just learned. And David pulls over at a rest stop.

Scott and David leave the motorhome, and I start setting up Skype on my iPad. I've been meaning to do it, but managed to get it all set up before the boys got back.  Scott told David, who took it very well, for finding out a couple of weeks after the fact.  And just like that, Sam was on Skype with David, and congratulations were delivered from all of us.  To a military base in Qatar, from a nasty rest stop in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

Isn't life grand?  And I have a new Facebook friend, and niece-in-law...or however that works out. Welcome Paula, nice to have you along for the ride!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

We're Here!

God knows where that is though.

We are heading South on I-5, parked in a RV campsite, nestled behing a gas station in the middle of freaking nowhere. And glad to be here, because there was no sign of civilization for miles, and miles, and miles, when we saw the RV sign. The next spot was about 150 miles down the road, and it was getting dark. So here we are!

We have electricity, and water, and two happy-ish campers. The third, Scott, is one more bitch, moan, or whine from being euthanized. It will be quick, no worries.

Las Vegas is next on the GPS. We are hoping to recoup our expenses, wish us luck!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Checking in

I just thought I should check in.  Somehow this trio of goofballs trying to get across the country has attracted a few followers. And some of you actually start to worry about us if we have been quiet for too long. With good reason.

The Sausalito Arts Festival is in full swing, Scott and I have been staying in San Francisco in a beautiful apartment.  And we have added a newcomer the story, Rebecca.  "Becca" is David's daughter (our niece) and has been living in San Francisco for about three weeks now.  She is in a one room apartment not too far from us.  David, however, is staying in the motorhome with Mitzi, the pug. The motorhome is parked about an hour away from us in an area I'll call East Jesus.

East Jesus, in case you don't know, is a southern expression for some place far removed from civilization.  In this case East Jesus is apparently not far from San Quentin Prison. David and Becca discovered that due to a little operator error with the GPS.

David has rented a car while we are all here. It is a Chevy something or other, and is a little bit larger than a gnat. And this is where I really have to take my hat off to David. He has been driving the gnat into "the city" from East Jesus every morning to pick me up and deliver me to the show, take Scott to run errands, pick up Becca, and return to pick me up at the end of the day. Driving us all back across the Golden Gate Bridge just so he can turn around and drive back across the GGB to East Jesus again.

The switch from a 30 ft motorhome to a gnat was fairly significant, David had to demonstrate the "snappy" steering, on the highway. I only screamed out loud for a minute.  But that little car has been great to buzz up the hills of San Francisco in, even with all four of us in it. Becca has been his co-pilot, which means David ignores her and the GPS rather than ignoring me and the GPS.  A vast improvement.

We have one more day just like this, then on Monday it gets complicated again. Bringing the motorhome down to the show site to tear down and load it up with panels and artwork.  I am trying not to think about it actually. If you know any collectors in San Francisco, send them my way, each painting that finds a new home doesn't have to ride back to Georgia.

And that would be a very good thing.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Motorhomes can kill you.

Traveling in a motorhome with two family members is a whole lot funnier when you aren't actually there. I highly recommend it. 

Reading about the trip? Funny. Hearing about it on the telephone? Funny. 
Brushing your teeth in a bathroom marginally bigger than the ones available on an airplane? 
Not so funny. 

The good (?) thing about a rental motorhome is they point out all the obvious, and not so obvious dangers. Scott actually tested one of these possibilities as he and David were driving down the road. Walking in a moving motorhome is significantly more difficult than say, a ferry boat, or an airplane. My personal rule is, if you aren't actively hanging on to something while standing, you make sure your butt, or belly is leaning hard into whatever wall or ledge is available. 

Scott was walking to the back of the motorhome while David was driving, I'm not sure if there was a corner, or a little over correction, but *wham!*  in that split second, Scott lost his footing and slammed up against the motorhome door. The one that wasn't actually locked with the deadbolt. The door held, and Scott is sleeping quietly beside me right now. I can hear him breathing.   But holy snapping hoohaa's. This stuff ain't for sissies. 

There should probably be another warning label printed up. Something like...

Spending time in this aluminum box with people you don't share forks, beds, or occasionally a toothbrush with may be hazardous to your mental health. 

Or probably more to the point, 

Occupants of this traveling cracker box should undergo psychological evaluation before embarking on a journey of 50 miles or more. 

But I did wake up this morning right about here...

Which was pretty awesome. 

And tonight?  Tonight I just had a great dinner in the Castro section of San Francisco in a restaurant named after and frequented at one time by Harvey Milk. And I am sleeping in a sweet and incredibly stationary bed in a beautiful apartment. Thanks to some wonderful friends. 

The road rash is wearing off my sense of humor, the Sausalito Arts Festival kicks off tomorrow evening. And I am set up and ready to go. 

Bring it on San Francisco. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Highway speed

I've been everywhere man, in my underwear man.

Somehow that juvenile song has wedged itself into my brain today. But we have covered some territory.  Buzzing down US 101, the day began foggy and misty, but the sun finally broke through.  We saw spectacular beach after spectacular beach.  Cliffs, sand dunes, sea lion caves, before heading inland to Crater Lake. 

Crater Lake, in case you haven't heard, is essentially the crater left from a major volcanic eruption that occurred about 7,700 years ago. The lake is fed only by rainwater and snow runoff.  And just off center in the lake is the cone of a later forming volcano. 

And I'd love to show you photos. I have wads of photos. But I am in the middle of the land of zero cell phone service, and close to zero Internet service. In fact there are hardly any gas stations, which had us clenching our teeth just a bit this afternoon. 

Actually my teeth were clenched for much of the afternoon, two lane roads, highway speeds, a rattling motorhome, and once we got to Crater Lake, a complete lack of guard rails was a bit of a stretch for my central nervous system. I spent some of that time on the back bunk with my head under the pillows. On several occasions my body became completely airborne. Add a little sideways motion, and I didn't even necessarily land in the same spot I launched from.

But that seemed better than looking out the windows.

I did however discover the perfect antidote. Did you know you can drink an icy cold vodka and tonic in a warm shower?  Better than therapy.

Until the smoke alarm went off while I was cooking dinner, there is no antidote for that.

Tomorrow morning I need to find my big girl panties and see how all my artwork is faring in the storage compartments. (Also in the back of the motorhome.)  If you see a mushroom cloud in the West, it didn't go well.

Fingers crossed.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Day One

Somehow it happened, Scott and David found me in Portland, and my loot from the trip north was transferred into the motorhome in the roomy expanse of an Ikea parking lot. My loot, by the way includes my grandparent's 150 year old grandfather clock.  So now the passenger list includes two full sized men, me, a pug, a grandfather clock, and and entire art show.  

Stepping into the motorhome, I came across Scott and David's solution for crap rolling off table tops etc.
Below are two photos.  Two un retouched, un staged photos. 

In case you can't really see what is going on here, the solution is masking tape. Note pads, pens, pill bottles, etc have been taped to the table tops. I am sure that faint sound I hear is my Dad, the lifelong camper, laughing his ass off. 

Today was relatively uneventful, we only got turned around a couple times.  The weather turned rainy and blowy, hardly unheard of on the Oregon Coast. I practiced my excellent sleeping in motion skills and curled up on a bunk while David drove, and Scott told David to slow down, and keep between those lines they paint on the road.   We did stop a couple of times to see beautiful places like this.  Cannon Beach, the wind was almost enough to blow you over, but well worth it. 

I understand that last night's dinner was something like ice cream and wine. Apparently the boys went to a grocery store and bought a frozen pizza. Which was a perfect solution, if you have an oven. But, this motorhome doesn't actually have one of those. It has a microwave, not a recommended cooking method for frozen pizza. 

I was told early on that my job was going to be cooking and blogging. Here's the blog, and here's dinner. Not quite "gourmet" but a good step above ice cream and wine. 

We will be continuing down the coast tomorrow, David is an early riser, so that's it for now. We will see what tomorrow brings. Feel free to send more masking tape. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Hey!  I'm back, sorry about the delay. With one of us north of the border, and the other in Yellowstone National Park, communications have been pretty spotty.  Yes, the boys have been in Yellowstone. And so far it's been the highlight of the trip. They drove through the park, seeing all kinds of geysers, including Old Faithful. Wildlife sightings include bear, (I'm not sure if that was singular, or plural), a mama elk and two babies, buffalo, and "wild" cows. I have never heard of feral cows, but it sounds like a good name for a band.

They were also driving across an 11,000 ft high pass, and witnessed a hail storm while seeing a wildfire in the distance. Sounds pretty dramatic to me.

Speaking of dramatic, they also secured one of the last spots in a campground the other night. It was probably still available because it had a bit of a slope to it. Our slightly more seasoned travelers didn't have anything to level up the motorhome with, so they just made due. Scott said he woke up several times in the night after sliding halfway off the end of the bed. That slick leatherette mattress cover wasn't helping. He said he just got up, pushed all the bedding back on to the bed and tried again, and again.

I, on the other hand have been bombing around Vancouver Island trying to catch all the sights and squish in short visits with family. I am currently sitting in a ferry line up waiting for the next boat to Vancouver, because even though I got here over an hour and a half before the sailing, I missed it by three cars. Three. And the next sailing is two hours away.

Son-of-a-bitch. That's the nicest thing I can think to say.

The good news though, is Scott and David seem to have a good working knowledge of all involved in dumping the holding tank in the motorhome. A very good thing.

I meet them on Monday, that's the plan anyway. Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


The boys are somewhere. Of this I am sure. They just drove past the KOA campground they were heading for last night. It became pretty clear they weren't going to be able to get as far as they had hoped, and they actually stepped back a bit and rethought their plans.   They had a good night wherever they were, both getting into long discussions with fellow campers.  I understand that Mt. Rushmore, or the Badlands are on today's itinerary.  I'll let you know where they end up.

Scott's favorite story from yesterday was Mitzi's latest trick. She sits in David's lap while he is driving and fiddles with the power windows and locks. Up and down, occasionally punctuated with a good honk of the horn. I don't know exactly how she honks the horn, but she barks every time she does. I feel like I should apologize to anyone in their path at this point. Being honked at by a barking pug has got to be annoying.

David has been promising me "really bad photos" to entertain you all with. He was going  to email them last night. I received this email instead...

I can't figure out how to send them! How unusual is that?


But the news is, I'm on my way. Blogging from Dallas /Ft. Worth. I'm not sure if this is good news or bad news. But it is news. I kissed Freda and the kitties goodbye this morning. And left before the sun came up. Kisses to CC for the ride.   I'll land in Portland tonight, and start heading North to visit my family, before I turn around again to head South to meet the boys. 

Between pet sitters, house sitters, and delightful neighbors, I have am sure all will be fine back at the ranch until I get home, whenever that may be. And if you have less than honorable intentions, you may want to notice that little white car in the drive. I have two words for you, Ex Marine. No shit.

Now if you have a burning desire to cut my grass, we can talk.

And if you really think I'm going to be able to save the day when I meet those two, you may be disappointed. My toothbrush is sitting in the holder at home.  Where else would it be?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Just another day.

Yesterday's plan of arriving at camp before dark, and before the office closed was foiled yet again.  I called at about 9:30 to see if they were set up for the night.  They had just pulled in, it was dark, there was no one in the office, and they were looking for the wine glasses.  Not those wine glasses, the big ones.  The BIG ones!

Speaking of wine, sometime yesterday afternoon Scott decided it was time for a glass of wine.  He went to the fridge, poured the wine, and carried it back to the cab.  (This may be incriminating evidence here, shhhh.)  David was driving and flapping his arms and pointing, and carrying on as only David can do.  Of course he hit the glass of wine out of Scott's hand, anyone could see that coming.  Scott said, no one said a thing.  Wine flew all over the cab, and both of them, Scott picked up the glass, and went and got more wine.

Please baby jesus, don't let these two get pulled over.

Other things that may involve the not refunding the damage deposit include the first use of duct tape.  Duct tape now holds a window screen in.  Apparently, if you drive down the interstate with the windows open, the screens will blow in.  And whatever was holding them in before has ceased to function.  Hence duct tape.  I just hope that motorhome doesn't look like some creepy wrinkly version of an airstream when they have the whole thing covered in duct tape.

Yesterday's trip to Frank Lloyd Wright's house was a success, they both enjoyed the tour.  Today they are heading towards the Crazy Horse Memorial.  Here is the link.  David sent me the driving directions from where they slept last night.  Which was Great River Bluffs State Park in Minnesota.  662 miles, 9 hours and 45 minutes. 

I know I heard the words, taking it easy, no driving after dark, set up camp in the afternoon, when the original spark of a thought was whirling around David's head.  After all, this was his idea.

On a positive note, eggs were boiled this morning.  On the gas stove.  No one caught on fire.  But they are currently looking for a restaurant, for breakfast.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Had me worried for a minute.

Things have been fairly quiet this weekend.  Scott has been staying put, working on his commission, doing laundry, y'know, the glamorous stuff.  David has been taking the train up to Chicago, seeing a Cubs game in Wrigley Field, and as he put it "roaming the streets."

The motorhome has been parked.  So even though I had been calling and checking in, my source of comedic material seemed to be drying up.  I almost started to worry.  But really all it takes with those two is a little motion, and gravity.

Many of you reading this blog are actually fans of the two stars involved, Scott and David.  You may not have even met me.  So here is a little background.  My family were campers.  Regular, constant, serial campers.  There are photos of me in front of the trailers my Dad built,  and the motorhome my Dad and Grandfather built.  I grew up among chemical toilets, outhouses, showers you put quarters into, kitchen sinks that had water that gushed into them only when you pumped a lever.

There is a certain rhythm to camping, and life on the road.  Something so ingrained in those that do it, that it becomes second nature.  Or perhaps you could call it common sense.  Things like packing up before you head down the road.

This morning, the plan was to leave at 5 am.  I think this is the only planned before dawn departure.  When I called Scott, they had arrived at their destination for the morning.  They were on time.

I was worried, it was all going so well.

So I asked, "Please tell me you remembered to unplug everything before you pulled out."  Oh, yes, they had put a big note on the steering wheel, "Unplug shit!" So David could not get into the driver's seat and leave dragging an extension cord.  David started to drive around 5, Scott thought he could snooze in the back bunk for a few hours.

Without actually being there to witness, it went something like this.  The motorhome starts to head down the road, Scott is in the bed, and quickly realizes there is no sleeping in.  As the back of the motorhome is a little like a bucking bronco.  Add the fact that the mattress in the back has some strange faux leather, plastic kind of covering.  Apparently to make it possible to wipe down between rentals.  Scott is bouncing up and down, and sorta sliding off the bed.

Meanwhile, this thing called gravity is starting to take over.  No one thought to clean the counters or tables off before departure.  I don't have a clear account of all that hit the floor, but did hear, "There was shit everywhere."  So Scott is up, in a motorhome bouncing down the road.  (I didn't ask what he was wearing, I really should have.  But if it was more than a pair of tightie whities I would be surprised.)  Picking up all the debris that had hit the floor and was rolling around, under tables, and yelling.

The yelling seemed to be focused on who's job it was to put everything away, the driver's, or the sleeping (?) passenger's. 

But they have arrived at today's destination, a Frank Lloyd Wright house.  The perfect spot for an artist and a builder to visit.  You can see it here.  After that, they only have one goal.  To be in a campsite before dark, before it's closed, so they can actually see what they are doing when they try to plug in.  And maybe even sit outside for a minute or two. 

It seems like such a reasonable goal.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Chilling in Big Rock

Things have fortunately settled down a bit for our two adventurers.  Some of the new challenges included the complex dance of pulling into toll booth after toll booth on I-65.  The dance involved not whacking the motorhome mirrors off when they pull into the toll booth, paying the toll booth cashier while Mitzi is biting the money, and the air, and whatever is between her and the toll booth cashier.  Some of the cashiers were apparently crazy enough to reach out and pet her.  As far as I can tell no one was harmed.

Scott and David arrived late last night in the metropolis of Big Rock, Illinois.  And Scott had a vodka and tonic in his hand within moments of arrival.  The motorhome will stay parked at the fire station/ home/ studio of ceramic artist Michael Barnes for a couple of days.  (Click on Michael's name to go to his web site and see his beautiful work.)  David will be hopping on a train to head into Chicago this afternoon.  Scott has decided to stay back at the ranch, and get a little work done on a commission.  Hopefully they will both go in tomorrow as David has tickets for the Comedy Club and other cool things.

As far as creature comforts, the motorhome has been connected to water and electricity, and I've heard rumors of hot and cold running water.  Scott was just about to get in the shower when we last talked.  He seems happy to be settled for the afternoon, saying, "I think I'll go out and shoot holes in all the tires, just so we can't go anywhere, I'll come home when it gets cold."

Some have asked for a photo of Mitzi, just for reference...

This is Mitzi

This is not Mitzi.  But I think she would appreciate the additions to her wardrobe.

Friday, August 16, 2013

I don't think they have enough wine.

No photos with today's blog, you'll just have to close your eyes and imagine this all in Technicolor.

Yesterday's official departure was scheduled to be around 5 am, the boys did get out of Atlanta just shortly after 9, so it was close.  I checked in again when they we having lunch somewhere in TN, all sounded calm.  Scott says the motorhome drives a lot like our van.  Cool.

I heard from them again around 7, they were lost, but knew they were close to the campground.  They just knew it.  It was exactly the same scenario as the last time those two were travelling together with a specific destination in mind.  The MapQuest vs Garmin debate was on. 

Jennifer gave Scott and me a GPS, aka the Garmin, aka, asshole for Christmas three years ago.  (Note on asshole, I had to change the voice from female to male, because during moments of frequent recalculating, I felt guilty telling the bitch to shut up, so now it's asshole.  Don't ask me why, but it just feels better.)  So in the past three years, the Garmin has had us drive off the end of a road that didn't exist, once.  Dumped us in the 'hood in Gary, Indiana once.  And tried to get us to drive through a locked cemetery gate once.  Other than that, I'd say the other couple or three hundred destinations that we have arrived at have been pretty much as planned, or close enough.

But David had this trip all planned out via MapQuest, pages and pages of MapQuest maps, in addition to travel guides, paper maps, and Scott has one of our big Canada/US map books.  But the Garmin was telling them to head in a different direction.  So for what seems to be 2 hours, they refused to listen to the Garmin, and followed the original plan.  Turns out someone had the wrong address in the MapQuest.  They pulled into the first night's camping spot as the lights were being flipped off in the "Office."  Just after 9 pm.  But they got in.

So I was talking to them both around 10 last night, I can talk to them both because one cell phone in one motorhome with two yelling men is really all you need.  NASA should look into this.  In the 5 or so minutes I was on the phone they bumped into each other at least twice, Scott fell off the upper ledge (just a 6 inch drop) from the bedroom.  David was trying feverishly to get into a box of wine, and Mitzi (the pug) had taken to growling at David pretty much constantly.

The box of wine was finally breached, I did hear the suggestion that a knife would be faster.  But it was red wine that had been in the fridge all day, and white wine that had not.  Food, as far as I can tell has been pretty much fried chicken and pimento cheese sandwiches  since yesterday afternoon.

They did go to bed sometime.  Scott woke up freezing.  "I thought I was in a meat locker, I was sorta hoping I was in a meat locker."  The air conditioning was blasting, they still haven't figured out how to turn in down, or even off.  A trip to buy more bedding seems to be on the list.  But in any case, Scott woke, and had to use the bathroom.  Which means leaving the motorhome, because they haven't yet figured out how to get the toilet working.  David was in a deep sleep, hears Scott moving around and wakes up screaming.  Which scares Mitzi.  Who proceeds to pee on David's bed.

11 days until I join them on this trip.  11 days.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Epic Journey

So, what exactly is my brother in law's idea?
Here is the backstory.  New Year's Eve, or there about, Scott and I were with David in Florida.  We were doing what we usually do at the beach house, sleeping, drinking Mimosas, that sort of thing.  Somewhere mid Mimosa I was on the computer, checking my Zapplication account, and considering shows to apply for in 2013.
And there was the Sausalito Arts Festival.  I applied last year, and didn't get in.  No biggie, it's a prestigious show, it's waaaay far away, and it's (gulp) expensive.  I was apparently making enough noise in the kitchen in front of the computer to attract David's attention.  He asked what I was doing and I told him about the show.  I applied last year, and didn't get in, but I didn't think I was going to apply this year.  Remember, expensive, and far away.
David said, and those of you who know David, "said" usually means yelled out loud.  David's volume adjustment is pretty much stuck at 11.  Anyway David said. "Apply!  If you get in, I'll rent a motorhome, and we'll all drive across the country!
I applied, I was accepted.
That's how we got to this point.
Now I could tell you all the plans that have been made to get to this point, but really, all that matters is I drove to Atlanta yesterday afternoon, and this is what I see.

Parked the wrong way on the street.  David sticks his head out and says, "This thing sure does have a lot of flex, you drive it down the road, it sways back and forth, and before you know it you're in someone else's lane!"  Add that to all the other David driving stories, "Hey, did I tell you about the time I almost flipped the dump truck, lost the trailer, went through that red light..." and you have the backstory.
David was just getting started loading display panels, art, and other assorted stuff.  Preparing the mothership as it were.  I pitched in, and I think we did pretty well.
There is also a huge storage space in the back of the rig accessible from the outside.  It is crammed full of artwork, so are some of the kitchen cupboards.  Frankly I'm just glad I wasn't stacking paintings in the shower, and that there is a shower.
You may be wondering where Scott is at this point.  Scott is on the sofa in the living room with the fourth member of the crew.  Mitzi.  Mitzi is a pug, who eats refrigerated dog food, and baby carrots.  Scott is on the sofa, mostly because his freshly radiated leg hurts like a bitch.  No other way of putting it.  Skin cancer sometimes goes beyond the little dabs of stuff that makes it fall off, and Scott's did.  The good news is the doctor is pretty sure there is healthy skin under all that charred blistered swollen mess.  Fingers crossed. Remember your sunscreen boys and girls.
So, motorhome loading resumes, we can see the priorities in these two shots...

The food to wine ratio does seem to be a little off for the next couple of weeks, I'll update you on that later.
Liftoff was originally scheduled for yesterday afternoon, it was postponed until early this morning.  Somebody said, let's just get up really early, like 4am, we can leave by 5, and it will be an easy drive to Dayton.  For those of you with a map, you'll know Dayton, OH isn't really on the way to Sausalito, CA from Atlanta, GA.  But that's for another time. 
My phone rang at 9:15 am.  They are on their way.  "Are you in Chattanooga yet?"
I was hedging my bets, that's only a couple hours from Atlanta, if they left on time, they should be well past Chattanooga.  "No, we are on I-75, but we are still in the perimeter.  Of Atlanta.
But they were both laughing.
Now where am I?  This is my show, my work, (not my idea.) We'll get to that, maybe tomorrow.  Until then, here is a pic of the happy crew, that day before liftoff.
Wondering what kind of artwork is riding around in the back of the motorhome?  Check out my blog


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

So, this is my brother-in-law David

If you are reading this blog this early in the game, there is a pretty good chance you know my brother-in-law David.  But if you don't, I'll do my best to introduce you.

David in Atlanta, GA.

David at the beach.
And this whole thing was his idea.