Monday, August 29, 2005

Summer Reading

I enjoy summer for many reasons but one of the foremost is the opportunity to read for pleasure. Some of these were on recommendations and some were out of desperation.

Kite Runner - by Khaled Hosseini - Best novel I've read in a LONG time. Very compelling human interest with lots of depth - friendship, family, love, death, forgiveness, loyalty. The downside: I had to bring out the kleenex a couple of times.

Bel Canto - Ann Patchett - Still haven't slogged my way through this one. I'm hoping to finish it but I'm not optimistic. I'm finding it too heavy and oppressive.

Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides - Unique perspective on a unique biological situation. A bit over the top at times (eg when Cal's working at the SF porn club), it's kind of fascinating at others. Sorta like that train wreck.

Digital Fortress - Dan Brown - I think this means I've now read all his novels and enjoyed every one. This one, although it has lots of cliffhanging page turning moments, didn't seem as intricate or subtle. It did, however, help me survive the drive through Idaho and Montana (see previous posting).

Ten Big Ones - Janet Evanovich - The only one of hers I've read but I understand there's lots more. Easy/fun reading - along the lines of Grafton or Reichs - casual sounding, female protaganist. Although I don't understand the whole bounty hunting thing as the Canadian system is different I guess. I also think she should do something about her web site.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Stowaway


This little guy was on the back of the motorhome when we left Vernon and travelled most of the way with us. I think we lost him in the fog on the Oregon coast somewhere.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Back Home Again

Things I'm glad we had on our holiday:

a. 12X zoom lens on my Lumix for those far off wildlife shots, also served as binoculars
b. no destination - there's something immensely satisfying about not having to GO anyplace and just enjoying where you are
c. maps - you're lost without them - best source: visitor's centres - don't buy the 4.95 ones at the garage that also charges .50 for air (although you can have free air if you ask the cashier)
d. each other - living with just your spouse for that many days can take its toll (major argument - in the grocery store over what to have for dinner - result: roasted garlic with brie on baguette and red wine - mmm!)
e. extended health insurance (see "Incident" entry below)
f. other people's wireless internet access - once again: Thanks.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Left Jackson as soon as Ross saw the Doctor on Monday. We did Idaho and Oregon (2 1/2 days of incredibly boring driving but I got the Dan Brown book Digitial Fortress to help me through) and we're now in Washington. The coast here is just like Oregon - lots of fog. Once we reached the coast we took our time, stopping at some great state parks and enjoying the rugged views. Visited the Sea Lion caves by Lincoln, and wandered on the dunes at night. Had an anniversary meal at Mo's (famous for it's chowder) in Florence.

Our goal this morning was to drive till we got out of the fog but it didn't happen so we stopped at Long Beach, Washington and managed to find a campsite in the sun. Tomorrow we'll either head up to the north end of the peninsula or head into Seattle.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Missing Sock

The title above is the name of the laundromat we're parked beside 'borrowing' their wi-fi access. Don't you just love laundromats with wireless? We're still in Jackson, waiting to see the doctor tomorrow (Monday). Jackson is an upscale old west style town, if there is such a thing. We found a cheaper campground in the Teton National Park and yesterday drove over to the Jackson Hole ski hill (about 10 miles) and took the tram up to the peak at 10, 450 feet. It was cold and windy (45 F) and ours was the last tram down before they shut down because of the weather. Who knows how long we would have had to wait up there before the weather cleared up.

Since we haven't received any suggestions for the rest of the trip we decided to head for Seattle and take in a few ball games. Checked the schedule and it looks like we're out of luck - the Mariners are out of town. Plan B: head to the Oregon coast and head up the Olympic Peninsula, over to Seattle and up to the Vancouver area.

For those following the saga, Ross's new apparatus:
Gratuitous shot of a moose:

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Jackson

Last night, since it was about 7pm after we got Ross's prescriptions we had no where to stay but managed to find a KOA at Jackson Hole, the famous skiing spot, about 10 miles from Jackson. Usual cost for a campsite $25-30. Cost here: almost $50US!!! Free Wi-Fi however. Anyone interested in real estate down here? The listings include a category for $10,000,000 and up! I had to count the zeroes to make sure I was seeing correctly. And there are many listings in that category.

No plans from here on. Ross is supposed to see the doc on Monday if we're still in the area. Golfing's out. Any suggestions?

The Incident

Let’s just say the incident involved a tree, the motorhome awning, a handsaw and Ross's finger. And let’s add that it’s a good thing we don’t have an itinerary for this trip ‘cuz if we did it just went out the window. Let me finally add that it appears that some people will do anything to get out of having to play golf against me.

The details: Immediately following the aforementioned incident on Thursday night, and with Ross trying to stem the flow of blood on his finger, he had me rummage around in his golf bag for a measly bandaid. I’ll also add this may be the first road trip we’ve made without the first aid kit. Figures. The bandaid wasn’t really very effective, and since it was 9pm we wandered down to the check-in station to see if they could help. They provided a couple more bandaids to hold him over till morning.

By 10am we were at the local Yellowstone Park medical clinic and Ross went in with a bandaid on his finger and came out 1 ½ hours later with the following apparatus.

By 2:00 we were 100 miles down the road at the Jackson, Wyoming hospital and by 5:30 he’d had surgery and he left with an even bigger apparatus (sort of a cast) that has to stay on for a month. The cut itself wasn’t too bad but he’d completely severed the tendon so the doctor had to clean it out and stitch it up. The scariest part for Ross was that, since he’d had anesthetic, I had to drive the motorhome to our campsite. I think I did a pretty good job considering I hadn’t driven anything that big since the McLeod Transfer 3 ton moving truck when I was 20.

So it looks like our trip to Yellowstone is over but we did manage to get a good impression of it. There are thousands of “geothermal features” many of which are geysers. Old Faithful is just one of the fairly predictable ones but we saw many on our trip through. At various places there are many boiling, gurgling, steaming, gushing and bubbling pools and ponds. I guess that’s what happens when you live in a volcanic crater. Here are a few small ones spouting off.

Here’s a little tip for the next time a bison and her calf decide to stand in the middle of the road and cause the traffic to back up for half a mile in either direction: just drive directly at them and lay on the horn. At least that’s what one guy in a truck did after we’d sat there for about 15 minutes. It appears that this will at least get them moving to the other side of the road. The bison are plentiful and we also saw a few elk.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Heading into Yellowstone tomorrow so we're thinking there won't be any internet or cell access in the wilderness. We pulled out of Waterton bright and early at 10:30am and drove south to Great Falls, Montana. Montana has the best of scenery and the worst of scenery. The magnificent Rockies and the dreadful (and boring) plains.

Strangely enough, when we crossed the border into Montana the only contraband that was confiscated were our 2 citrus fruits, one lime and one lemon. Really put a cramp into the gin and tonic situation. However, the customs official was very apologetic about taking our fruit.

Golfed yesterday at Waterton - a good course considering it's in a National Park. Took $3 off Ross but that's only because I felt sorry for him and gave him a chance on the last two holes. We drove up to Cameron Lake and balanced the camera on some rocks for a photo. Lots of wildlife but mostly deer and elk, oh, and a few bison in the paddock. Haven't seen any bears or mountain goats yet. The deer aren't shy.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Waterton

This park seems to be a popular vacation spot for Albertans and understandbly so. It's got some beautiful scenery and outdoor recreation. Yesterday we drove up to Red Rock Canyon which is appropriately named.
In the evening we took a boat ride into Montana on Upper Waterton Lake which spans both Canada and the US. The border is marked by a several yard wide clearcut through the mountains, visible in this photo.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

On our way to Yellowstone

Some highlights from the trip so far:

What kind of yahoo would drive through a Wal-Mart parking lot at 1am honking his horn and yelling? Come to think of it, what kind of idiot would park his motorhome in a Wal-Mart parking lot? We drove to Penticton on Wed. night and with nowhere booked (and the slim likelihood of anything being available this time of year) we decided to join the other losers in the W-M parking lot. Ross even took the opportunity to go on a shopping extravaganza.
Slow round of golf in Castlegar, our first clue should have been the fact that we were right behind 16 guys on a stag! Fortunately we made it to our dinner reservation at our favourite Castlegar restaurant Gabriel's. As usual, Ross spent time looking for his balls on the course.

On Friday we golfed Kokanee Springs where I managed to take $22 off Ross - beat him gross too. He hasn't paid up yet - could the humiliation have been too much for him?

Last night we stayed in Sparwood which we think must be the most easterly community in BC. It also has the 'world's largest truck'.

We also stopped in Frank, Alberta, the scene of the famous slide in 1903 which brought down several million ton of rock onto the town, killing many who lived there.

Today we are in Waterton Lakes National Park in the spectacular Rockies of Alberta. The campground has wireless for $10 a day but when I fired up the laptop, lo and behold, there's another wireless somewhere in the area. Thanks, fellow camper, whoever you are.
We have a tee time for tomorrow at the Waterton course, then on Tuesday we'll try to make it out of the country, towards Montana.

Monday, August 01, 2005

28th Annual

The Hartfield is over for another year. The empty cans and wine bottles have been cleaned up, the sewer pipe replaced and the ramps put away. It's time to dry out, shun tiramisu and launder the sheets. With temperatures in the mid 30s the new a/c was a big hit. And Ross claims victory (though it is unverified) with a score of 2, close on the heels of a win last year (also with 2) by the author.

Marj argues her 'one bounce through the hole' shot with course designer Vincent, to no avail. "If it went through the hole, it had to go through the air. Where do the rules say it has to be on the fly?"







Ross graciously accepts the coveted trophy from participant Gerry. In his acceptance speech he thanked his wife for all her encouragement. His name will be engraved along with all the prestigious winners of the past. The ladies trophy was thankfully not presented.







A feature of this year's event was the specialty breakfasts, including the birdie, par and here, part of the bogey breakfast, Martin samples the traditional cinnamon buns. Little did we know he thought (or imagined) they were all for him.








See you all next year.

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